Customer Reviews: Arrow: Season 1 (Blu-ray + DVD + UltraViolet)
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on October 18, 2012
I had low expectations when I decided to download the pilot episode. After the utter failure of 'The Cape' and other superhero TV shows ruined with poor acting, poor action and plots that could have been written by a 10 year old, who can blame me for expecting Arrow to be another loser. However, I actually came away impressed ... and I am not that easily impressed.

First, the selection of Stephen Amell as Green Arrow was excellent. I was worried the role would go to a male model more concerned with being pretty than being a hardened man on a mission. With Stephen Amell as Green Arrow you get a guy who comes off more as an MMA fighter, which makes Arrow so much more believable. The action scenes are crisp and effective. Arrow starts out with grit and has an edgy quality that keeps you interested. The plot contains plenty of room for mystery and the dialogue/acting is pretty good. It makes no difference if you are a Green Arrow fan or not, this show is about enjoying a unique action hero. Maybe a bit too much glorification of 'taking the law into your own hands' but, OK, maybe we'll see if the main character grows beyond this.

This appears to be a Canadian production. That may explain why the producers of Arrow seems to be taking more risks in making a DC comic action hero into an actual action hero (and showing a bit more respect for the intelligence of superhero fans young and old).

I look forward to seeing more from this series. One thing the producers could add - a touch of humor. Nothing sets up an audience for action and dramatic twists than a touch of humor (the Firefly TV show first comes to mind as well and the most recent Avengers film). And, that's why I went with 4 stars instead of 5.

Like superheros? Check out Arrow. Let's see if we can keep this on the air a few years.
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on December 1, 2012
First let me say, I probably skew the demographics on superhero TV and movies. I am a 52 year-old woman, and have loved the science fiction and superhero genres since I was 12. I love the X-men movies (all of them), most of the Batman movies, the first Iron Man movie,not crazy about Superman (too goody-goody for me, I like 'em dark!). I'm a faithful fan of the excellent Grimm, and the sometimes over-the-top Once Upon A Time. I even enjoy watching some of the animated Spiderman and others with my grandson (LOVE the Di-gata Defenders!). The best ones are archetypes, resonating in the soul.

That said, my review:

This series is really well-done, the cast is exceptionally strong considering their lack of fame, the acting is well above average for the genre, and particularly for a television series. It's dark, often creepy (but not so much that I wouldn't let a nine- or ten-year-old watch it), plenty of action, with a wonderfully believable set of characters. Stephen Amell is quite good, charming and gritty by turns, Katie Cassidy (Lauren) is quite talented and I really hope she gets a chance to show what she can do. Susanna Thompson (Oliver's mother), is a long-time favorite of mine (truly wonderful in NCIS as Lt.Col. Mann and Gibbs' brief love interest) has a character who is suitably deep and challenging for her. David Ramsey as John Diggle is prickly, distrusting and just cynical enough. His character is the one I am most concerned about, as it would be far too easy for the writers to allow him to become to prototypical "convert to the cause".

The show gets a little moralistic, but that may serve as a caution to the intended audience to mitigate the violence. I like the way the producers/writers are filling in Oliver's 5-year absence while he was shipwrecked a little at a time, and can't wait to see where this goes.

No, there isn't anything very original about the series, but it's so compelling that it hardly matters. I sincerely hope this stays on for a long time, provided the writing and the stories maintain their present quality!
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on October 25, 2012
I love, love, love this show. Such a nice change from the usual mostly meh kind of shows many of the networks are churning out like the mindless so called "reality" shows that I refuse to watch. Way to go CW-this is a winner.
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on April 16, 2014
I had no idea what to expect from this series.

I had seen some bits and pieces of Season 2 in closed captioning, while at a gym (of all things! :) ), and my curiosity was piqued. The few sporadic 'partial scenes' I'd watched (albeit with somewhat screwed up closed captioning) left me wondering what the show was about.

When the Season 1 price was slashed, in conjunction with a Black Friday special, I jumped at the opportunity to grab a copy of the set, for later viewing.

Well, that time ultimately came, and I ended up watching the series in 'marathon' fashion. After viewing an episode, I couldn't wait to see the next, and was/am bummed to have reached the end of the season.

While I've never been someone who gravitated to the print version of comics, I nonetheless have always loved a good story, compelling action, and characters who are 'brought to life' in an indelible manner. This show is not the first appealing-to-me television or film creation whose origin ultimately rests with print comics -- and in particular, involving a primary character with hero qualities which were 'forged' by difficult and/or mysterious circumstances, and whose 'other life' and 'alter ego' (so to speak) is kept a secret from nearly everyone.

This is a fantastic show, and I am astonished at its high production value -- and the martial arts sequences blow my mind with respect to how skillfully they're 'choreographed' and so very well actioned and acted (to have such set-the-bar-high -like quality associated with such, week after week, and which would most often be reserved for expensive-to-create blockbuster movies, is not only noteworthy, but SO impressive).

Additionally, the fact that this show involves -- in a sense -- 'two shows in one' (with the what-happened-while-shipwrecked-on-an-island-for-5-years storyline journey, along with the post-evolution-in-the-wake-of-trauma, back-in-civilization version of the character), makes for an unexpectedly 'rich' viewing experience, and is a remarkable feat to pull off, when it comes to the (great) writing and non-'disruptive' 'interweaving' of such, and the terrific producing, acting, and directing associated with the 'concurrently elapsing' timelines portrayed in the one-technically-precedes-the-other storylines.

The lead actor in this show has a most unusual set of different-timeframe -based storylines to convincingly 'bring' to the audience (and quite different 'versions' of the same character to portray -- before, during, and 'after' the character's 'transformation' from a spoiled rich son-of-a-billionaire playboy, to a determined and devoted 'righter of wrongs', whose willingness to risk his life to protect others, and to expose the wrongdoings of the 'powerful and corrupt' (and often rich), involves a skillset, mindset, and 'riskset' highly different than what he possessed prior to being shipwrecked and subsequently surviving 5 years of hell).

The question ultimately asked (many times) of the character, after he is home, post-rescue, of, "what happened to you on that island?" (when pondered by those who notice any of various 'differences', from the guy they knew prior to his having embarked on the doomed yacht voyage), has an answer that is complex, stunning, and involves multiple circumstances which would change any individual, and would tend not to be experienced even singly, in anyone's life, let alone to have all of them affect one person.

And the famous line uttered by Jack Nicholson's character, in "A Few Good Men", of, "you can't handle the truth", would be (I suspect) a largely accurate assessment of the difficulty any of his loved ones would have in 'processing' the "what happened on that island" information, were he to reveal it to them. There is a limited subset of said information that does ultimately get revealed, albeit selectively, and to specific individuals... and one aspect would seemingly be 'inevitable' for him to 'have' to reveal, given that his body (if/when exposed, in conjunction with clothing being removed) is covered by many physical scars (and none of which appear to be 'accidental scrapes').

To portray all of this, and to convincingly act in many archery-'infused' martial arts sequences (which are also filled with impressive hand-to-hand combat, acrobatic maneuvers, and at times, involve some parkour, and altogether, render fight sequences which are considered "epic", in the words of another reviewer (and justifiably so, in my opinion), and are considered by various major media outlets as being the best fight scenes and stunts found in any show currently on television (and I'm in agreement)), is a tall order to expect of any actor -- and the actor ultimately chosen for the lead role would seem to have been the perfect one to select. He does a *fantastic* job in all facets of this emotionally and physically demanding role.

What I've also found so refreshingly welcome about this show is the occasional levity thrown in, especially that via the IT specialist (and interestingly, this was a role that was initially slated to be a relatively brief presence in the show, but the audience response was so positive, that the actress who does such a great job in the role then found "Felicity" to have been promoted to 'recurring character', before ultimately being 'made a series regular', and her character became a main character... she convincingly portrays a terrific combination of tech savvy and youthful, social 'awkwardness' (as well as skillfully delivering some accidental-for-the-character double entendre -esque utterances (which the character quickly backpedals on, comically :) ))). Various scenes involving this character can bring a quick smile and laugh to the viewer, before the show then resumes the tenor it more consistently involves.

I'll leave any additional specifics and any potential spoiler-based comments to other reviewers.

This is a terrific show, with a great ensemble cast, and involves a spectacular modern day imagining of the original comic book character. I loved the first season, look forward to viewing the second season, and am delighted to learn that the show has been renewed for a third season. And as difficult as it is to accomplish, this show just keeps getting better!

I can't recall the last time I was so impressed by the high production standards and overall quality of a television show. The standards that the writers, producers, directors, set designers, actors, stunt doubles, and martial arts action sequence choreographers bring to this show is altogether fantastic, SO impressive, and makes for a great (and absorbing) viewing experience.

This is one of those rare shows which leaves one reflecting on the great artistic accomplishment its creation and production represent.
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on September 22, 2013
I was one that did not have high expectations for the series, but am very impressed at how it has turned out so far. The character (and overall storyline) is very dark. Much darker even than version of the Green Arrow played by Justin Heartly on Smallville. This version of the character made that one look like a boy scout. To say he is morally ambiguous is an understatement.

The series starts with Oliver Queen being rescued from an island he had been marooned on for 5 years. The show actually tells two stories. In flashbacks we learn what happened after the shipwreck and the events that unfold on the island. In the present we see his transformation into "The Hood" a vigilante on a mission to take down the criminal elite in Starling City. He is also re-integrating into "normal" life, reconnecting with his friends and family, while having to lead a double life to protect those he cares about. Throughout the first season they introduce many of the DC comic characters along the way

The key to the series is the wonderful acting. There are really no "A list" actors in the group, but many of them are recognizable from other shows. Stephen Amell does a great job playing the brooding role, and yet having to incorporate some of Oliver's past playboy attitude. All of the supporting actors, both series regulars and recurring, bring a lot to the show, and the writers do a good job of giving good stories to all the characters, so it is not just about Arrow out chasing down bad guys. Some of the stories in the first season get resolved, others are left open. So there is a lot to work with going into season 2.

As far as this set goes, it comes both on Blu Ray and for some reason DVD. There are 4 blu ray discs and 5 DVDs. The show looks and sounds great on blu ray as you would expect. My only complaint about the blu rays is there there is no season mode. So even if you use the play all option, if you stop in the middle of an episode it does not pick back up where you stopped it. As far as extras go, there are commentary tracks on select episodes, deleted scenes for many of the episodes, a 30 min "making of" feature, an 18 min feature on the stunts, a panel discussion and gag reel. Definitely enough to keep those who like the bonus material happy.
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on May 13, 2013
Arrow has become my guilty pleasure. It took a few episodes for the writers to find their feet, but I didn't care. There aren't many shows out there other than Castle that have this kind of chemistry between the leads--in this case Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell), John Diggle (David Ramsey), and Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards). Credit has to go to the producers for shaping the show based on what does or doesn't work. Felicity's character is a perfect example. Originally intended as a one-time character, when the fans went nuts for her snark they brought her back as a regular. And what a difference it has made! She balances out the male hormones of the other two with much needed humor. It's great. And the first episode is worth watching if only for the nonverbal duel between Oliver and Diggs for whether the bodyguard can stay with his charge long enough to do his job. Diggs is not just muscle. He's got brains and a common sense to him that Oliver badly needs.

Another factor worth singling out are the chase and fight scenes. I don't know that I've ever seen so much excellent Parkour. The fight scenes are amazing. Truly remarkable. And, as someone who has studied both fencing and the martial arts I don't often say that! Part of what I like are the way characters use the environment around them in the fight. It makes the scenes both more realistic and more exciting to watch. Kudos to their choreographer and to Stephen Amell, who does much of his own action.

Is the show perfect? No. I find much of the back story on the island to be boring. And after nearly a full season, I can't see what ANY of the men (other than her father, for whom one expects love to be blind) see in the character of Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy).

Other factors on the show fall in-between. Dr. Who fans will like the guest appearance of John Barrowman (who played Captain Jack Harkness) and Alex Kingston (Prof. River Song) while Dresden Files fans will be glad to see Paul Blackthorne as a regular. The writing is uneven, but generally sound and has definitely improved as the season has gone on. The eye candy is plentiful and enjoyable. On the whole, you have to give the show a huge thumbs up. It has become my guilty pleasure. Give it a chance and you may find it becomes yours as well! Highly recommended.
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on December 22, 2012
My hubby really enjoys superhero anything, and I usually watch because I have to. But we REALLY love this show!! We are mature, in our late 30s/early 40s, and honestly, almost never watch the CW for obvious reasons. But this show surprised us - it is well-written, has a great cast, interesting plot. I've never seen Stephen Amell before this show, and he is really great! (And cute!) I recommend this show highly!
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on December 25, 2012
After Smallville ended, I limited my television viewing to a few programs, notably The Walking Dead. However, when I heard about Arrow, I was intrigued! Was this going to have Justin Hartley (Smallville) in it or were the TV producers using someone else? Well, after watching the first episode, my question was answered and I was hooked. The Arrow TV series takes the same approach as the recent Batman-franchise by using probable scenarios to add realism. The selection of Stephen Amell was a good choice, because he's action hero material! If you like super hero movies, I suggest you watch this series. It provides good drama, plot twists, tons of action, and great references to the DC Universe. So far, I've seen the Huntress, Deathstroke, China White, Dark Archer (?), and Deadshot! Hey, just go watch this series!!!

Update (6/6/13): I'm still loving this series! They are currently working up a Red Arrow storyline for the second season and I see Oliver Queen potentially taking over his family's corporation in the near future. Great show with plenty of drama, cliff-hangers, and action! I really hope this series continues for a very long time, because I'm hooked! Again, just go watch this series!!
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on November 29, 2012
What happens to a millionaire playboy stranded on a remote island for five years? Ben Gunn from Treasure Island was completely mad in a little over two, Chuck Noland in Cast Away developed a profound relationship with a volleyball in three and Gilligan did almost everything imaginable in less than four. But five years of playing survivor, throw in some dangerous adversaries and even torture and you just might get a superhero.

During his time on the island Oliver Queen had only one article from his past life: a ledger of his father's pointing to a family legacy built on corruption and exploitation which provides the driving force for survival as he feels an obligation to rectify the wrongs he believes his family has perpetrated on the citizens of Starling City. Oliver has also learned to hold on to the memories dearest to him in order to survive but after rescue from the living nightmare in episode one, he returns to find that the family he idealized has moved on; his mother has remarried and the attitude that his baby sister now possesses could probably be best described as ambivalence. His mother unknowingly hires a bodyguard for her less than helpless son that ends up quitting when he discovers the secret identity of his charge. But the ethical nature of this character provides a counter to Oliver's single-minded pursuit of justice as he later convinces him to assist in the logistics of his mission although I believe he needs him more as a conscience and a compass to what should be done as opposed to what the Green Arrow is capable of.

At times this series may digress a bit towards inter-personal drama but it's buoyed by action and to be completely honest that's what keeps me coming back to this show. Anyone can do well-choreographed fight scenes but in this case it's all about filming in such a way as to maintain a certain level of believability as well as making the viewer actually "feel" the action. Additionally, the violence is subtle and tastefully done; how many shows can say that? At the writing of this review I'm still not very impressed with any of the female characters but it's still early and there's lots of potential and I'm sure they will continue to introduce new heroes and villains. Speaking of which, the addition of the character that will eventually become the Huntress provides a sort of polemic to the heroic vigilantism of the Green Arrow as he demonstrates respect for the inherent value of human life while the latter is motivated by end justifying the means.

I just wish the critics would stop comparing this excellent television series with prolly one of the most exceptional super-hero film series currently around (i.e. Batman). As another member of the DC superhero universe, of course there's gonna be similarities in some of their characters... get over it. I suppose if you can't then just keep watching those films over and over again but for all of us lovers of creative/fantasy/super-hero, television-entertainment.... there's Arrow. :o)
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I happened across a reference to this show on the internet, had never heard of it (season 2 is well underway) and decided to check out IMDB, and was shocked at the high rating, and had to check it out.

I'm not a comic book fan, never read them as a kid even though I'm a geek and was programming computers my freshman year in high school in 1981, well before anyone else I knew was even aware of their existence. I never did get into the superhero thing, never watched the cartoons as a kid or anything. The closest I've gotten is the big budget movies that have been coming out the last decade. So I wasn't sure what to expect from this.

I caught about 20 minutes of the first episode online, and just gave up and purchased the Blu Ray set for Season 1 because it hooked me pretty well that quickly. I'm through the second to last disc in the set, only have about 5 more episodes to go, and I can say that I've really enjoyed it.

The fact that there's no "superhero" storyline with inhuman powers and such is one of the things I like about the series. Granted, it's still typical "hollywood" in which every person in this guys life is insanely attractive, whether male or female. I've known a few very wealthy people and not a single one of them were surrounded by this much eye candy. But we all know that "normal" doesn't sell in hollywood or most TV series. But they did a good job avoiding anything superhuman here - just a guy with a not average physical build and a penchant for archery.

They do a great job with the backstory. It starts out just him being rescued, and you get bits and pieces of the 5 years he spent on the island as the series progresses, and they keep the intrigue going, since there's always more questions than they answer.

The stories are better than average for a TV show, with the short single story arcs each episode, and the longer reaching series arcs weaving in and out of them. I haven't been bored with any of them yet, and while they seem to get a little preachy sometimes, it's not too often, or too strong, so it's not nauseating or anything.

Not having read the comics, I can't attest to the accuracy of the stories and characters, but I can say if you didn't read them, you could very well enjoy this series. Acting is mostly quite well done, stories are intriguing, and the anticipation of finding out what is going on never gets old.

The only serious downside to it that it shares with most types of film in this genre is how the "bad guys" could never hit the broad side of a barn when they're shooting at the star, but they're pinpoint accurate when shooting anyone else. If there's one repeating thing that is the dash of cold water in the face with this show, it's that.

Worth checking out if you haven't seen it, it's not the normal junk that the networks have been shoving down our throats for years.
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