Back in February I posted a thing about The CW show Arrow, which is based on the DC Comics character Green Arrow.
I fell off watching it for a while, because of things like Mad Men, House of Cards, and Game of Thrones, but now I am back, smack in the doldrums of the middle of the first season.
The series started very strongly and I appreciated its formal allusions to Shakespeare and Lost; now I can barely stay awake through an episode. What is both commendable and a little disappointing about Arrow, is that it never pretends to be anything more than what it is: a beefcakey soap opera about hot young vigilantes. The show is great at reinterpreting characters like Huntress and Deathstroke in the CW milieu. It is AWESOME at choosing moments for the Arrow title treatment to fly in after each episode’s teaser. But it feels like a show without ambitions for anything greater. There is a new thing going on every week — super hero related or angsty friend related — and Arrow simply deals with it. Okay, so there is kind of a big mystery about his mom and why he was on the island, but both of those storylines are very under nurtured at this point. Maybe I’m just starting to feel the limitations of a character who can only solve problems by shooting arrows at them?
Lost, to continue that comparison, at it’s best and worse always fancied itself more than a supernatural island mystery show. When it was in top form, Lost aspired to be a kind of genre jukebox that could do all kinds of stories, but at its worst the show deluded itself into thinking it was a college level course on religious philosophy. Even though I loathe some of the later religion-heavy episodes of Lost, I understood that it was a show that swung for the fences and sometimes missed. Sometimes you will get amazing episodes, like “The Constant,” sometimes you will get lame episodes, like the ending. But you have to at least try.
So I guess I don’t know if I respect Arrow for sticking to what it knows how to do or if, like in a bad long-term romantic relationship, I a slowly building up a reserve of resentment for the show for not being it’s best self.