Arrow (TV series)

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Arrow
Arrow-logo.png
Genre
Format Serial drama
Developed by
Starring
Composer(s) Blake Neely
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 42 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
  • Greg Berlanti
  • Marc Guggenheim
  • Andrew Kreisberg
  • David Nutter
Producer(s) J. P. Finn
Location(s) British Columbia
Cinematography
  • Glen Winter
  • Gordon Verheul
Camera setup Single-camera
Running time 43 minutes
Production company(s)
Distributor Warner Bros. Television Distribution
Broadcast
Original channel The CW
Picture format HDTV 1080i
Audio format Dolby Digital 5.1
Original run October 10, 2012 (2012-10-10) – present
Chronology
Related shows The Flash
External links
Official website
Production website

Arrow is an American television series developed by writer/producers Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim, and Andrew Kreisberg. It is based on the DC Comics character Green Arrow, a costumed crime-fighter who was created by Mort Weisinger and George Papp. It premiered in North America on The CW on October 10, 2012, with international broadcasting taking place in late 2012. The series follows billionaire playboy Oliver Queen, portrayed by Stephen Amell, who, after five years of being stranded on a hostile island, returns home to fight crime and corruption as a secret vigilante whose weapon of choice is a bow and arrow. Unlike in the comic books, Oliver does not go by the alias "Green Arrow" in the television series. Arrow also features appearances by other DC Comics characters.

The series takes a realistic look at the Green Arrow character, as well as other characters from the DC Comics universe. Although Oliver Queen/Green Arrow had been featured in the television series Smallville from 2006 to 2011, the producers decided to start clean and find a new actor (Amell) to portray the character. Arrow focuses on the humanity of Oliver Queen, and how his time on a presumably deserted island affected him. The creative team chose to illustrate that in the series by crafting flashback scenes to the island for almost every episode. The series is primarily filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Arrow has received generally favorable reviews from critics, and was the highest rated new series on the CW in past five years up to its release. The series averaged approximately 3.68 million viewers over the course of the first season, and has garnered multiple award nominations and three wins. To assist in promotion, a preview comic book was released before the television series began, while webisodes featuring a product tie-in with Bose were developed for the second season. The first season is available on DVD and Blu-ray in regions 1, 2 and 4 and a soundtrack of it also been released. The second season of Arrow premiered on October 9, 2013.

On February 13, 2014, The CW renewed the series for a third season.[1]

Series overview[edit]

The series follows Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell), billionaire playboy of Starling City, who spends five years stranded on an island following a shipwreck that claims the life of everyone else on board, including his father, Robert Queen (Jamey Sheridan). Upon his return to Starling City, he is reunited with his mother, Moira (Susanna Thompson), her new husband, Walter Steele (Colin Salmon), the then-current CEO of Queen Consolidated; and his younger sister, Thea (Willa Holland). His best friend, Tommy Merlyn (Colin Donnell), the son of billionaire Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman), and ex-girlfriend Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy), also greets him. The series also features the introductions of various DC Comics characters, both in present time and flashbacks to the island, many of whom are vying for control of Starling City.

The first season focuses on Oliver reconnecting with people upon his return, and spending his nights hunting down the wealthy responsible for "failing the city" as a hooded vigilante who is not afraid to kill his targets, ultimately at odds with the secret organization that plans to destroy a section of the city that has become overridden with crime. John Diggle (David Ramsey), who acts as Oliver’s bodyguard in front of the public, and Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards), an IT specialist who works at Queen Consolidated, assist Oliver in his crusade. The first season also features flashbacks to Oliver's time on the island, and how it changed him; this continues in the second season. Season two focuses on Oliver's decision to stop all criminals, without killing them, following Tommy's death after the first season's finale. Oliver must also contend with outside forces attempting to take over Queen Consolidated, more revelations of his family and friends' pasts as well as certain individuals have returned from perceived death. Oliver accepts an aspiring vigilante, Roy Harper (Colton Haynes), as his protégé, and begins to receive assistance from Laurel's father, Officer Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne).

Season Episodes Originally aired
Season premiere Season finale
1 23 October 10, 2012 (2012-10-10) May 15, 2013 (2013-05-15)
2 23 October 9, 2013 (2013-10-09) TBD

Cast[edit]

  • Stephen Amell portrays Oliver Queen, a billionaire playboy turned hooded vigilante, who is based on the DC Comics character Green Arrow. After surviving a ship wreck on an isolated island for five years, Oliver returns to his home city with a mission to right the wrongs of his father and save the city from the crime that has grown in his absence. Amell was one of the first actors to audition for the role, and Kreisberg felt that he "hit the target from the outset" and "everyone else just paled in comparison".[2] The actor, who was already in shape from Rent-a-Goalie, did physical fitness training at Tempest Freerunning Academy out of Reseda, California. Amell received archery training as well, which included watching a video on how archery has been displayed inaccurately or poorly in television and film before learning the basics of shooting a bow.[2] For Amell, the appeal of portraying Queen was that he saw multiple roles tied to the same character: "There’s Queen the casual playboy; Queen the wounded hero; Queen the brooding Hamlet; Queen the lover; Queen the man of action, and so on."[2]
  • Katie Cassidy portrays Laurel Lance, based on the DC Comics character Dinah Laurel Lance,[3][4] an attorney and former girlfriend of Oliver Queen. Similarly to Oliver, Laurel also fights for the people of Starling City. In the first season, she works for a non-profit legal office that helps people in need. Cassidy stated that she was drawn to the show and the role after learning of Berlanti, Nutter, Kreisberg, and Guggenheim's involvement; she had a desire to work with them because she found them "smart [...] creative [and] edgy".[5] Cassidy sees her character as a "caregiver" to her family, which helped push her in the direction of becoming an attorney. Cassidy stated, "I think that she's very, very driven, and she has a huge heart [...] she's sensitive. She has really strong morals and values, and she expects everybody to live up to them the way that she does."[6]
  • Colin Donnell portrays Tommy Merlyn, Oliver's best friend,[7] who eventually learns of Oliver's secret life as a vigilante. Like Oliver, Tommy has romantic feelings for Laurel. His father is Malcolm Merlyn, a main antagonist in season one. The surname "Merlyn" is the name of one of Green Arrow's nemeses in the comics. He died saving Laurel at the end of the first season's finale, leaving Oliver and Laurel to cope with this loss.
  • David Ramsey portrays John Diggle, Oliver's partner, confidant, and bodyguard.[8] Diggle is ex-military, and works to have Oliver channel his abilities into helping others in the city, and not just taking down the wealthy, corrupt businessmen that worked with Oliver's father. Named after comic book writer Andy Diggle, and created specifically for the show, Diggle was designed to be Oliver's "equal in many respects". Guggenheim further explained that Diggle's mutual abilities are a means of setting him up early in the series as a confidant for Oliver's vigilante persona.[9]
  • Willa Holland portrays Thea Queen, Oliver's younger sister.[10] Thea develops a drug habit early in season one, but gets clean after criminal charges are brought against her for driving while under the influence. In season two's seventh episode, it is revealed that Malcolm Merlyn is Thea's biological father.
  • Susanna Thompson portrays Moira Queen, Oliver and Thea's mother.[11] Moira is revealed to also be part of the secret organization her late-husband was involved with, which is making plans to bring down the city as a means of rebuilding it in the image of the organization's leader.
  • Paul Blackthorne portrays Detective Quentin Lance, Laurel's father and Starling City police detective.[12] The character is based on the DC Comics character, Larry Lance, who was also a detective, and husband to Dinah Drake Lance and father to Dinah Laurel Lance. Detective Lance blames Oliver for the death of his daughter, Sara, as she was with him on his family yacht when it sank. In Season 1 Lance is also out to capture the vigilante, who he sees as a menace to the city for the vigilante's willingness to break the law and kill in the pursuit of stopping crime. In season 2, Lance had been demoted to beat cop and was now more accepting of the vigilante's actions to the point of teaming up with him when needed.
  • Emily Bett Rickards portrays Felicity Smoak,[13] the IT technician at Queen Consolidated who has become part of Oliver's vigilante team. The DC Comics character of the same name was the step-mother of Ronnie Raymond and manager of a computer software company.[14] Like Diggle, Felicity also serves as Oliver's friend and confidant. Rickards was promoted to a series regular for season two, after having been a recurring character throughout season one.[15]
  • Manu Bennett portrays Slade Wilson, a character based on the DC Comics character Deathstroke.[16] Slade is an ASIS agent who teamed up with Oliver during his time on the island. Bennett was initially cast as a recurring character for season one,[16] before receiving series regular status at the start of season two.[17]
  • Colton Haynes portrays Roy Harper, a character based on the DC Comics character of the same name.[18] A petty crook, Roy was befriended by Thea, and subsequently began dating her, and is fascinated by the hooded vigilante, unaware that he is Thea's brother (until "Tremors"). Haynes was moved to series regular status at the beginning of season two, following his recurring appearance in the first season.[19]

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

On January 12, 2012, The CW was preparing a new series centered around the character Green Arrow, developed by Andrew Kreisberg, Greg Berlanti and Marc Guggenheim.[20] A week later, the series, now known as Arrow, was ordered to pilot, which was directed by David Nutter, who also directed the pilot for Smallville, a series following Clark Kent on his journey to become Superman.[21] At the end of the month, Stephen Amell was cast in the titular role of Oliver Queen.[22] When developing the series, producer Marc Guggenheim expressed that the creative team wanted to "chart [their] own course, [their] own destiny", and avoid any direct connections to Smallville, which featured its own Green Arrow/Oliver Queen (Justin Hartley), opting to cast a new actor in the role of Oliver Queen.[2] Unlike with Smallville, the series does not initially feature super-powered heroes and villains. Instead, the creative still took inspiration from Smallville, as one of the main themes of Arrow was to "look at the humanity" of Oliver Queen, as Smallville had done with Clark Kent. The decision not to include superpowers was, in part, based on the executives' desire to take a realistic look at the characters in this universe.[23] Production on the pilot began in March 2012 in Vancouver,[24] which would continue to act as the primary filming location for the series.[2] The series' skyline shots use a combination of footage from Frankfurt, Germany, Center City, Philadelphia, Back Bay, Boston, and Tokyo, Japan.[25] The series was given a full season pick up on October 22, 2012.[26]

"I think the idea is to—not all the time, and not with a set regularity—but I think it is critical to explore how he went from the person that he was when he left the island—which is extremely different: he’s spoiled, he’s entitled, he’s a bit of a jerk—and he comes off it something very, very different. So we’re going to explore how he gets there."[23]

—Stephen Amell on the use of flashback storytelling.

Arrow is intended to feature multiple concurrent storylines across time; one storyline is set in the present, while the other takes place during Oliver's time on the island five years before his rescue. The idea from the creative team was to use flashback moments to illustrate how Oliver transformed into the man that returns to Starling City.[23] Filming for the island flashbacks takes place in Vancouver, in an area called Whytecliff Park. According to Kreisberg, the filming area is right next to million dollar, beachfront homes, which requires the camera operator to make sure none of them make it into the frame of the camera.[27] According to Kreisberg, this requires extensive planning by the entire team, as they cannot film all of the island scenes for the entire season at one time. The writers have to be "creative" and production utilizes a lot of pre-planning time.[27] Guggenheim concurred with the significance of filming the island scenes: "Stephen [Amell] has to wear a wig, and his look has to be changed... there's a lot. It's actually incredibly ambitious to do these flashbacks every week, every single episode. Because like Andrew [Kreisberg] said, it's almost like it's its own show."[27]

Additionally, the series features relationship triangles that are developed over the course of the show. Although there are love triangles, there are others designed to catch characters in "philosophical debates".[28] Kreisberg provides one such example: "Every week, Oliver will be facing a bad guy, but the truth is, his real nemesis is Detective Lance, who's trying to bring him into justice.[...] His daughter is going to be caught in the middle, because she loves and respects her father, and she's always believed in what he believed, but at the same time, she's going to see this dark urban legend out there that's actually doing a lot of good; the kind of good that she wants to be doing in her role as a legal aid attorney."[28] Learning from previous experiences working in television, the producers worked early on identifying the major story arcs for the series, specifically the first season, including "mapping out" how to accomplish them. Taking inspiration from Christopher Nolan's Batman film series, the creative team decided to "put it all out there" and "not hold back" from episode to episode.[28]

The idea to "put it all out there" includes the use of various DC Comics characters, as well as references to different aspects of the DC universe. Guggenheim points to the inclusion of Big Belly Burger, introduced in the third episode and used as a minor set location throughout the series, as an example of how they are including everything they can find. Big Belly Burger is a restaurant franchise that was first introduced in the Superman comics. According to Kreisberg, "There are so many characters in the DC Universe who haven't gotten their due in TV and film. We're so excited to reach into [the DC comics] roster and take some of these lesser-known characters that are beloved by fans, and do our spin on the characters."[27] Additionally, when setting up their writing staff, Kreisberg and Guggenheim felt that they were enough "comic book nerd" to understand how to use the characters from the DC universe and the superhero genre, that they wanted to bring in writers to focus on good stories and character development.[27]

Costume design[edit]

The Arrow costume, worn by Stephen Amell

The realistic approach to the series included the costume design for Oliver's vigilante persona, created by Colleen Atwood.[29] According to Amell, it was important for the suit to be functional, and the best way that he knew for that was if he could put the costume on by himself: "If I can put it on by myself, I think that people will buy it. And that was our idea. That’s our world."[23]

In the second half of season two, Oliver replaces his "paint" mask with a domino mask, similar to one worn by the character in the comics. The change is addressed on-screen, with Kreisberg saying, "He doesn't just put on a mask. It's actually a big plot point in an episode, and there really is a story behind, not only the need for the mask but also who provides him with it."[30] On adding the mask now, Kreisberg stated that, "Conceptually, it was something we wanted to do because Oliver himself is evolving as the Arrow—from vigilante to hero, sort of from Arrow to Green Arrow—and we wanted to see that progression in his costume as well. As Oliver is embracing being a hero, being a hero means stepping out of the dark and being more of a symbol, so he has to take steps to conceal his identity more."[30] He added that it will "allow the Arrow to interact with people who don't know his identity in a much more organic way than having him constantly keep his head down."[30] Costume designer Maya Mani put together roughly 50 mask options for the producers. Kreisberg said, "What's so wonderful about the design that Maya came up with is that it really is very simple, and it feels as if it’s been part of his costume since the beginning...once we finally had this mask and put it on Stephen [Amell], even Stephen was like, 'This is the right one.'"[30] In the episode "Three Ghosts", Oliver receives the mask from Barry Allen, who is able to create a mask that will help conceal his identity, while still being functional and allowing Oliver to see clearly.[31]

Music[edit]

Executive producer Greg Berlanti invited Blake Neely to compose the score for Arrow, with whom he had first worked with in Everwood. Neely created a score which combined both electronic and orchestral. The cues composed vary between action themes and romantic ones. According to Neely "Of course, Oliver has his main theme but also sub-themes for the many layers of his character. He and Laurel have a love theme. Mom had a theme for the Undertaking. The bad guys all have themes, which makes it sad for me when one of them dies. So I try not to become attached to bad guy themes. Diggle has a theme. Even the Island itself has a theme." [32]

Broadcast[edit]

Arrow premiered on The CW network from October 10, 2012, during the 2012–13 television season.[33][34] In Canada, the show is broadcast simultaneously on the same day as the United States.[35] The show premiered outside North America in South Africa on October 19, 2012.[36] Throughout the United Kingdom, Ireland,[37] and Latin America on Wednesday October 22, 2012.[38] In India on the series premiered on January 23, 2013,[39] and in Australia on May 1, 2013.[40]

Critical reception[edit]

Season one received favorable reviews, with a Metacritic score of 73 out of 100, based on reviews from 25 critics, making it the highest rated CW show in five years.[41][42] Review aggregate Rotten Tomatoes calculated an approval rating of 86%, based on 35 reviews, for the first season. The general consensus reads: "The CW nails the target with Arrow, a comic book-inspired series that benefits from cinematic action sequences, strong plotting, and intriguing characters."[43] Mary McNamara of the Los Angeles Times called the series an interesting setup with a quality look, describing Amell as "a poster boy (no doubt literally) for the Katniss Everdeen set."[44] Brian Lowry at Variety described the series as a handsome but stiff surrogate for Batman that could benefit from sharper execution.[45] In reviewing the final episode of season one, Alasdair Wilkins of The A.V. Club gave the season as a whole a rating of B+, noting that the show "hasn’t quite figured everything out yet, but it’s had some standout episodes."[46]

Jeff Jensen of Entertainment Weekly gave the first half of season two a rating of B+, saying, "Arrow possesses an intelligence that shines through its TV-budget production values, which aren't too shabby. The writing is adult and witty, the action is exciting, and Amell holds the center with well-cultivated ease."[47] The A.V. Club's Carrie Raisler gave the first half of season two a rating of A-. She said, "Arrow [has] officially established itself as one of the most satisfying shows on television. The most satisfying thing of all is that it did so by respecting its characters... [Arrow respects] the character’s comic-book roots in its overarching plotlines, all while using the network-appropriate soap-opera stories to do the heavy character lifting."[48]

U.S. Nielsen ratings[edit]

Season No. Ep. Timeslot (ET/PT) Network Season premiere Season finale Rank Average total viewers
(in millions)
Date Total viewers
(in millions)
Date Total viewers
(in millions)
Season 1 23 Wednesday 8/7C The CW October 10, 2012 4.14[49] May 15, 2013 2.77[50] #119[51] 3.68[51]
Season 2 TBD October 9, 2013 2.74[52] TBA TBD

Arrow's premiere episode drew 4.14 million viewers, making it The CW’s most-watched telecast of any show on any night in three years, and The CW’s most-watched series premiere since The Vampire Diaries in 2009. In its second episode, Arrow became the only new network drama in the 2012–13 season to hold its ratings in both adults 18-34 and adults 18-49 from its premiere to its second week.[26]

Accolades[edit]

Year Award Category Recipients and nominees Outcome
2012 Satellite Award[53] Satellite Award for Best Television Series – Genre Arrow Nominated
IGN Awards Best TV Hero Stephen Amell/Arrow Nominated
2013 People's Choice Awards Favorite New TV Drama Arrow Nominated
NewNowNext Awards[54] Best New Indulgence Nominated
Cause You’re Hot Stephen Amell Nominated
Saturn Awards[55] Best Youth-Oriented Series on Television Arrow Nominated
Teen Choice Awards[56] Choice TV Show: Fantasy/Sci-Fi Nominated
Choice TV Breakout Show Nominated
Choice TV Actor: Fantasy/Sci-Fi Stephen Amell Nominated
Choice TV Breakout Star Nominated
Choice TV Actress: Fantasy/Sci-Fi Katie Cassidy Nominated
Canadian Society of Cinematography Awards[57] Cinematographer Awards for TV Drama Cinematography Glen Winter csc, Arrow (Pilot) Won
Broadcast Music, Inc. BMI Television Music Awards Blake Neely Won
TV Guide Award Favorite New Series Arrow Won
2014 People's Choice Awards[58] Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Actor Stephen Amell Nominated
Saturn Awards[59] Best Youth-Oriented Series on Television Arrow Pending

Other media[edit]

Digital comic[edit]

To promote the series, DC Comics produced a 10-page preview comic for the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con, written by Kreisberg, illustrated by Omar Francia, and featuring a cover by artist Mike Grell. The comic was regarded by the production crew as sharing the same canon as the series, with Kreisberg commenting, "[For] anyone who grabs a copy: Hold onto it and as the series progresses, you'll appreciate it more and more."[60] It was later released free online.[61] On October 10, 2012, DC Comics debuted a weekly digital comic tie-in written by Kreisberg and Guggenheim and drawn by various artists, including Mike Grell, which remained in continuity with the television series.[62] The series lasted for 36 chapters, running until June 2013. These were collected, together with the initial preview comic, into Arrow: Volume 1, released in October 2013.[63][64] Titan Magazines published the comics in a physical format in the UK. The first issue was published on October 17, 2013 and contained the first four chapters of the series, with the complete series lasting 6 issues.[63][65]

Blood Rush[edit]

On November 6, 2013, a six-episode miniseries, titled Blood Rush, premiered alongside the broadcast of the show, as well as online. The series, which was presented by Bose, and features product placement for Bose products, was shot on location in Vancouver, similarly to the main show. The miniseries features Emily Bett Rickards, Colton Haynes and Paul Blackthorne reprising their roles of Felicity Smoak, Roy Harper and Quentin Lance, respectively.[66]

The episodes show Roy coming to Queen Consolidated to have a meeting with Oliver. As he is out, Felicity tells Roy to go wait in the lobby. As Roy leaves, Officer Lance calls Felicity, telling her that the blood sample the Starling City police found on the vigilante, which Felicity destroyed, has resurfaced. Felicity then calls Roy, using Oliver's voice encoder, asking him to break in to the lab to retrieve the sample. Felicity guides Roy through the lab, who is able to recover the sample. As Roy is leaving, doctors enter the room, seemingly trapping him. He notifies Felicity, who then hacks into the building's PA system, and issues an evacuation notice, giving Roy a chance to escape. Roy gets out of the room before it enters into lock down, and is able to avoid two guards with the help of Felicity and exit the lab. Roy returns to Queen Consolidated, and Felicity offers to mail the acquired sample for Roy as he goes in to meet with Oliver.[citation needed]

Video games[edit]

Additionally, a Green Arrow skin based on Stephen Amell's Oliver Queen appears in the 2013 video game Injustice: Gods Among Us. The playable skin was given as a bonus reward to the first 5000 voters of Injustice's promotional Battle Arena competition, but was later released as a free download. Stephen Amell also provides the voice-over for that particular skin.[67]

Spin-off[edit]

In July 2013, it was announced that Berlanti and Kreisberg, along with Nutter and Geoff Johns, would be creating a television series based on The Flash, with an origin story for Barry Allen.[68] The character, played by actor Grant Gustin, was set to appear in three episodes of season two of Arrow, with the final one acting as a backdoor pilot for the new series.[69] However, it was announced in November 2013 that the backdoor pilot would not be happening, with a traditional pilot being made instead. The decision was made after the first two appearances of the character were well received by CW executives who saw the material. No decision was made as to whether the character will be featured in the third episode, which is set for the end of the second season and has not been written.[70] It was also confirmed that the character's superhero persona will not be featured on Arrow as originally intended, but will be saved for the pilot episode of the potential new series.[71] In January 2014, The Flash was officially ordered for a pilot episode.[72] In March 2014, it was revealed that Gustin would not appear in the third episode as originally planned. However, Danielle Panabaker and Carlos Valdes, who have been cast in The Flash as S.T.A.R. Labs' Caitlin Snow and Cisco Ramon, respectively, will appear in the episode "The Man Under the Hood".[73]

Home release[edit]

Complete Season Release dates Additional info
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
1 September 17, 2013[74] September 23, 2013[75] October 2, 2013[76] The DVD/Blu-ray box set contains additional features, including making-of featurettes, deleted scenes, gag reel, and highlights from the Paley Fest 2012.
2 September 22, 2014[77]

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External links[edit]