The CW turns a certain shade of green on Wednesday night (October 10) with the premiere of “Arrow,” a new action thriller based on the popular hero Oliver Queen from DC Comics lore. An archery master who could easily go toe-to-toe against the likes of Clint “Hawkeye” Barton and even Katniss Everdeen, Ollie returns from five years of isolation on a deadly island only to learn that his home, Starling City, has become an unrecognizable bastion for the criminal and corrupt. He takes it upon himself to assume a masked persona — Arrow, as the title implies — and dole out his own brand of justice against the forces keeping Starling City in the filth.
Though “Arrow” takes more than a few cues from the “Dark Knight” trilogy at least in terms of tone, Oliver differs from Bruce Wayne in at least one very crucial way: unlike the Caped Crusader, Arrow has no qualms about killing the scumbags who deserve it. The result of his lethal methods is a high-octane thriller packed with fatal consequences for all who stand between Oliver Queen and his noble pursuit.
MTV News has already seen the “Arrow” season premiere, and here are our five reasons to tune into The CW’s latest comic book adaptation.
The Dark World
The writers and producers behind “Arrow” have made no secret about their Christopher Nolan inspiration, and it shows on the screen. The Starling City seen on “Arrow” is a dark, grimy, corrupt place that you can absolutely accept as part of the real world. This is a universe where invincible aliens won’t be seen flying around in red and blue tights; “Arrow” takes place in our reality, and the show benefits from the grounded feel.
Just as important as the setting, if not more so, is the man wielding the bow and arrow. The Oliver Queen of “Arrow” isn’t the liberal quipster comic book fans are familiar with, but Amell’s interpretation works within the context of the show. He’s dark and brooding, dangerous and brutal, but not without levity when it’s appropriate. He’s also completely jacked out of his mind. Amell’s abs are must-see TV for a certain crowd, just as they are an instant-shaming for doughy TV reviewers, not unlike yours truly.
We Have To Go Back
Like Bruce Wayne in Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy, the Oliver of “Arrow” has many sides to his personality: the public persona, the man who broods in private, and the masked crime-fighter. But there’s a fourth side, too, as Amell told us at Comic-Con: the Oliver Queen who lived on an island for five years, fighting for his life every single day. Ollie’s time on the island is a big part of the pilot and, as Amell promised, an even bigger part of the show going forward. In other words, “Lost” fans craving a return to mythology-heavy island drama, this just might be the show for you.
It’s Raining Rogues
Even if “Arrow” takes place in “the real world,” it draws heavily from its comic book source material. Countless villains from the comics have already been announced as part of the show: China White, Deadshot, the Royal Flush Gang, Huntress… the list goes on. There’s even a massive Easter egg in the pilot that promises big things to come for Oliver’s island story line at the very least, if not the greater “Arrow” mythology.
Aiming For The Future
Does “Arrow” fully hit the bullseye with its premiere episode? No, it doesn’t. But it’s a very solid hour of television and one of the best pilots of the fall season, full of promise and big, bold ideas. A great cast led by a great leading man, a grounded universe that still has room for fan service, and a parallel storyline brimming with tropical terror — with all of those ingredients capably in place, “Arrow” is a series well worth targeting early on.
The CW’s “Arrow” debuts October 10 at 8 p.m. ET.
Are you planning to watch the “Arrow” season premiere? Let us know in the comments section below or hit me up on Twitter @roundhoward!