Re-Reviewed: Arrow kicked off something big before it went downhill

Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen/Green Arrow -- Photo: Jack Rowand/The CW -- © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen/Green Arrow -- Photo: Jack Rowand/The CW -- © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. /

Arrow started something special. How does it hold up nearly a decade later? 

The CW has become the go-to for DC television with numerous series focusing on a variety of characters. And the start of it all was Arrow, a show about DC’s resident archer and unpowered Justice League member.

A show focused on Green Arrow was the start of what is now called the Arrowverse, a brilliant concept at first that has long since jumped the shark. While there was a time that the show that started it all was must-watch TV, it certainly took a trip downhill in later seasons as the series dragged on.

Arrow takes its shot

DC TV, Arrow
Arrow — “Fadeout” — Image Number: AR810A_0002b.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Willa Holland as Thea Queen, Susanna Thompson as Moira Queen, Jack Moore as William Clayton, Sea Shimooka as Emiko Queen, Melissa Benoist as Kara/Supergirl, Grant Gustin as The Flash and Echo Kellum as Curtis Holt/Mr. Terrific — Photo: Colin Bentley/The CW — © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. /

Developed for TV by Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim, and Andrew Kreisberg, Arrow was quite loosely based on DC Comics character Green Arrow. Lost at sea for five years, Oliver Queen returned home a changed man. He had become a vicious vigilante who was determined to clean up his city by any means necessary.

There were two stories happening at the same time. One happened in the present, following Oliver as he tried to reacclimate to life and established himself as a force for good. The other story was told through a series of flashbacks that detailed what happened while he was away.

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It was a compelling and interesting concept, one that cherry-picked what it wanted from the comics. That included stories, characters, and more. Over the seasons, much of that content wasn’t taken from Green Arrow comics so much as it was Batman comics. But it worked.

The birth of the Arrowverse

Eventually, new series started to spin-off from Arrow. The first of them was The Flash which got started when Barry Allen made his debut in Season 2 of the Emerald Archer’s show. That led to Barry gaining his super-speed powers and his own show.

After that, more spin-offs such as Batwoman, Supergirl, Superman and Lois, Black Lightning, Legends of Tomorrow, and Stargirl followed. Not all of them were interconnected at first but that started to change. This built a web of crossovers that fans found intriguing.

As the Arrowverse grew, the series that started it all began to decline and fade into the background. On the air for eight seasons, producers started to stretch for stories and the Arrowverse started to collapse under its own weight. It had reached the point of being too much of a good thing.

The legacy of Arrow

Arrow, Black Canary, Comic Books
Katie Cassidy as Laurel Lance/Black Siren in Arrow — “Starling City” — Photo: Jack Rowand/The CW /

By the time Arrow came to an end, many of the fans who were around for the early seasons had abandoned it. The darkness of the early days had been long since left behind and replaced by a teen drama vibe that was more about personal relationships than action and heroics.

The series simply wasn’t putting its best foot forward, anymore. That being said, it’s also hard to deny the impact Arrow had on modern superhero comic book TV series. Not only did it launch the Arrowverse, it also helped push the genre forward. Without its success, fans might never have gotten other shows like Titans, Doom Patrol, or even any of Marvel’s Disney and Netflix series.

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Without question, Arrow did not finish in 2020 as strong as it started in 2012. At the same time, this was a series that was absolutely superb when it was on its A-game. And there were several seasons that hit the bullseye with almost every episode.

Were you a fan of Arrow? Do you follow the other Arrowverse shows? Let us know in the comments below!