Whether the new TV series "Arrow" was going to be a hit or a trick-arrow-bomb was a real toss-up. On one hand, we had an entire decade of "Smallville." On the other hand, 2002's "Birds Of Prey" only lasted 13 episodes.
"BoP" at least had the cachet of being somewhat related to the lucrative Bat-franchise. But taking a chance on Green Arrow was like taking a chance on...Aquaman. Or Iron Man.
Well, "Arrow" has just been picked up for a full 22-episode season run (read all about it at MTV Splashpage) -- and is doing gangbusters in the ratings!
Here are 5 reasons why I feel "Arrow" hit the target:
1. It wasn't called "Green Arrow"
I'm sorry -- I know that sounds elitist and geek-blasphemy, but from a marketing standpoint I really think it's true. "Arrow" is a literally sharp and direct brand name. Are you going to name your deodorant for men "Blue Body Spray"? Or AXE? Axe, arrow, it's just damned catchy.
Also, we must consider the stigma for all superheroes "Green" after "Green Lantern" tanked and "Green Hornet" did kinda meh.
2. It wasn't heavy with comics continuity knowledge
Granted, with the "New 52" relaunch, there wasn't a ton of Green Arrow history established to begin with for the non-comics viewing public to puzzle through. But little "easter-eggs" like Deathstroke's mask thrown in for the old-school GA fans aside, everything you need to start getting into "Arrow" is pretty much there from the pilot.
That said, while the current Green Arrow and the TV "Arrow" look reasonably similar to each other, their stories and origins are just different enough to be pretty confusing to the new reader. Other than the new "Arrow" comic, what should fans of the TV show read?
3. It's The CW formula all the way -- beautiful people in soap opera situations
Look, don't get me wrong when I say "soap opera." I don't mean shows like "Arrow" and "Supernatural" are on the same level as "Days of Our Lives." But in those and other CW programs, relationships are a BIG factor. And also: everyone's really good-looking. It's almost like the Whedon formula, though Joss jumps a few levels above that and gets really profound. I don't know if I can call "Arrow" "profound." But Stephen Amell and Katie Cassidy (a "Supernatural" alum, who was also in one of my fave TV miniseries ever "Harper's Island") make a cute couple!
4. You can't get any better than cribbing from Shakespeare
As I've detailed in a previous post, "Arrow" takes the core of its storyline from the classic play "Hamlet." And the reason why such plays have stood the test of time is because they're about universal themes we're all drawn to. Want to make a compelling TV series but don't know where to start? How about star-crossed lovers forbidden to see each other? Or an old mob boss who is hated by his daughters and has become ineffectual? If you're going to crib story elements from anybody, might as well be the best, amd that is what "Arrow" has done here.
5. Let's face it: Archery is "in" this year
Sometimes a show just has good timing. "Brave," "Hunger Games," Hawkeye in "The Avengers" -- how could a TV adaptation of Green Arrow not debut this year?
Don't worry Aquaman, water-breathers will be a big thing in 2017 maybe. (or, according to this late-breaking article, perhaps sooner)