Arrow (TV series)

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Not to be confused with the television series Arrows (TV series) or The Arrow. For other uses of "Arrow", see Arrow (disambiguation).
Arrow (TV series)
Season one title card
Based on Characters from DC Comics
Developed by
Composer(s) Blake Neely
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 5
No. of episodes 95 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
Location(s) Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Glen Winter
  • Gordon Verheul
  • Gregory Middleton
  • C. Kim Miles
  • Corey Robson
  • Kristin Windell
  • Andi Armaganian
  • Paul Karasik
  • Jessie Murray
  • Thomas Wallerstein
  • Carol Slutz
Camera setup Single-camera
Running time 40–43 minutes
Production company(s)
Distributor Warner Bros. Television Distribution
Original network The CW
Picture format HDTV 1080i
Audio format Dolby Digital 5.1
Original release October 10, 2012 (2012-10-10) – present
Related shows Arrowverse
External links
Official website
Production website

Arrow is an American action crime television series developed by writer/producers Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim, and Andrew Kreisberg. It is loosely based on the DC Comics character Green Arrow, a costumed crime-fighter 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. Primarily filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, the series follows billionaire playboy Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell), who, five years after 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.

The series takes a new 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, on the CW, 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 he was changed by time spent shipwrecked on an island. Most episodes have flashback scenes to the five years in which Oliver was missing.[1]

Arrow has received generally positive reviews from critics. The series averaged about 3.68 million viewers over the course of the first season and received several awards and multiple nominations. To promote it, 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 and second seasons are available on DVD and Blu-ray in regions 1, 2 and 4; a soundtrack was also released for the first two seasons. In October 2014, a spin-off series set in the same universe, titled The Flash, premiered.[2] In August 2015, an animated spin-off, Vixen, was released, while a second live-action spin-off, Legends of Tomorrow, premiered in January 2016, featuring a number of characters from Arrow and The Flash. On March 11, 2016, the series was renewed for a fifth season,[3] which premiered on October 5, 2016.

Series overview[edit]

Season Episodes Originally aired Nielsen ratings
First aired Last aired Rank Average viewers
(in millions)
1 23 October 10, 2012 (2012-10-10) May 15, 2013 (2013-05-15) 130 3.68[4]
2 23 October 9, 2013 (2013-10-09) May 14, 2014 (2014-05-14) 128 3.28[5]
3 23 October 8, 2014 (2014-10-08) May 13, 2015 (2015-05-13) 135 3.52[6]
4 23 October 7, 2015 (2015-10-07) May 25, 2016 (2016-05-25) 145 2.90[7]
5 23[8] October 5, 2016 (2016-10-05) TBA TBA TBA

The series follows Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell), billionaire playboy of Starling City, who spends five years shipwrecked on the mysterious island of Lian Yu. Upon his return to Starling City, he is reunited with his mother, Moira Queen (Susanna Thompson), his sister, Thea Queen (Willa Holland), and his friend, Tommy Merlyn (Colin Donnell). The first season focuses on Oliver rekindling his relationships and spending his nights hunting down and sometimes killing wealthy criminals as a hooded vigilante, following a list of names he discovered in a notebook belonging to his father. He uncovers Malcolm Merlyn's (John Barrowman) conspiracy to destroy "The Glades", a poorer section of the city that has become overridden with crime. John Diggle (David Ramsey) and Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) assist Oliver in his crusade. Oliver also reconnects with ex-girlfriend, Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy), who is still angry over his role in her sister's presumed death. The first season features flashbacks to Oliver's time on the island, and how it changed him; flashbacks in subsequent seasons continue to show how Oliver spent his time and gains the skill-set that shapes him into the vigilante he is.[9]

In season two, Oliver has vowed to stop crime without killing criminals. His family and allies come under attack from Slade Wilson (Manu Bennett), a man from Oliver's time on the island who returns to destroy everything important to Oliver. Oliver accepts aspiring vigilante Roy Harper (Colton Haynes) as his protégé, and begins to receive assistance from Laurel's father, Detective Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne). Oliver also gains another ally; a mysterious woman in black, who is eventually revealed to be Laurel's sister, Sara Lance (Caity Lotz), who survived her ordeal at sea after the yacht sank. In flashbacks, Oliver continues his time on the island with Slade, Sara, and Shado Fei, and depicts how Oliver's animosity with Slade started.

In season three, Arrow has become a public hero in Starling City following Slade Wilson's defeat. Queen Consolidated is sold to wealthy businessman, scientist and aspiring hero Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh). Oliver struggles to bring his family back together, an old enemy returns, and Oliver becomes embroiled in a conflict with Ra's al Ghul (Matthew Nable). After a tragic event and a rocky start, Laurel sets out to follow in Sara's footsteps as the Black Canary. John Diggle struggles with his new role as a family man, as Oliver no longer wants John in the field after the birth of his daughter, while Felicity Smoak begins a new career as Vice President of Palmer Technologies (formerly Queen Consolidated). In flashbacks, Oliver is forced to work for Amanda Waller in Hong Kong alongside Maseo and Tatsu Yamashiro, and to stop corrupt general Matthew Shrieve from unleashing the Alpha-Omega, which Ra's al Ghul eventually acquires in the present.

In season four, Oliver becomes "Green Arrow". He and his allies fight against the terrorist organization H.I.V.E., headed by the mystically enhanced Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough), who is attacking Star City (formerly Starling City). Over the season, John Diggle discovers that his brother Andy (Eugene Byrd) is alive and a H.I.V.E. soldier; Thea works alongside Oliver under the alias "Speedy", but struggles to control the lust for blood left with her following her resurrection; and learning of Thea's encounter with the Lazarus Pit, Laurel struggles to bring back her sister Sara by the same method. Oliver's life as Green Arrow and his relationship with Felicity are complicated by his mayoral run and the revelation that he is father to a nine-year-old son. Oliver ultimately discovers that Damien plans on detonating nuclear weapons and ruling a new world over the Earth's ashes. In flashbacks, Oliver returns to Lian Yu to infiltrate the organization known as Shadowspire on behalf of Amanda Waller, and has his first encounter with the mystical idol used by Darhk in the present-day narrative.

In season five, Oliver trains up young heroes Wild Dog (Rick Gonzalez), Mister Terrific (Echo Kellum), Artemis (Madison McLaughlin) and Ragman (Joe Dinicol) to join him in his war on crime following Laurel's death and Thea and Diggle's resignations, while he tries his best to balance his vigilantism with his new role as mayor. In flashbacks, Oliver is living in Russia, where he joins the Bratva as part of an assassination ploy.


  • Stephen Amell portrays Oliver Queen / The Arrow / Green Arrow, a billionaire playboy turned hooded vigilante-hero who is initially known as the “Hood”, “Vigilante”, and simply “Arrow”. He is based on the DC Comics character Green Arrow. He survives on an isolated island for five years after the sinking of his father's yacht. 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”.[1] 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.[1][10] 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".[1]
  • Katie Cassidy portrays Laurel Lance / Black Canary, based on the DC Comics character Black Canary,[11][12] an attorney turned vigilante and former girlfriend of Oliver Queen. Like Oliver, Laurel fights for the people of Starling City. In the first season, she works for a non-profit legal office that helps people in need. In the second season, she became assistant district attorney, but in the second half of the third season, she became a vigilante taking her late sister's place as Black Canary. Cassidy said she was drawn to the show by Berlanti, Nutter, Kreisberg, and Guggenheim, whom she called smart, creative, and edgy.[13] Cassidy sees her character as a "caregiver" to her family, which led her to become an attorney. She said, "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".[14]She dies near the end of the fourth season, leaving Oliver to blame himself. Oliver reveals her identity to the people of Star City to honor her memory.
  • Colin Donnell portrays Tommy Merlyn, Oliver's best friend,[15] who eventually learns of Oliver's secret life as a vigilante. Like Oliver, Tommy has romantic feelings for Laurel. His father is Malcolm Merlyn, the main antagonist in season one. Tommy dies saving Laurel at the end of the first season's finale, leaving Oliver and Laurel to cope with his loss.
  • David Ramsey portrays John Diggle / Spartan,[16] Oliver's partner, confidant, and bodyguard, who becomes a vigilante superhero with armor and hi-tech gear.[17] 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.[18]
  • Willa Holland portrays Thea Queen / Speedy, Oliver's younger sister; based on a DC Comics character with similar traits.[19] 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, she learns that Malcolm Merlyn is her biological father, and begins training with him at the start of season three. In the third season, Thea learns Oliver's secret and eventually joins his team. In the fourth season, Thea uses Oliver's nickname for her, Speedy, as her hero identity, which is based on the DC Comics character Mia Dearden.[20] In season 5, Thea becomes Oliver's chief of staff as in the Star City mayor’s office.[21]
  • Susanna Thompson portrays Moira Queen, Oliver and Thea's mother.[22] 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. She is murdered at the end of season two.
  • Paul Blackthorne portrays Detective Quentin Lance, Laurel and Sara's father, and Starling City police detective.[23] 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 presumed death of his daughter, Sara, as she was with him on his family yacht when it sank. In season one, 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 is demoted to beat cop and is now more accepting of the vigilante's actions to the point of teaming up with him when needed. In season 3, Lance is promoted to police captain but can no longer be active in the field due to his heart condition.
  • Emily Bett Rickards portrays Felicity Smoak / Overwatch,[24][25] the IT technician at Queen Consolidated who has become part of Oliver's vigilante team. Like Diggle, Felicity also serves as Oliver's friend and confidante. Rickards was promoted to a series regular for season two, after being a recurring character throughout season one. In the third season, she and Oliver admit their attraction to each other, but he feels they can not be together for her safety. By the fourth season, they are in a relationship, and eventually, get engaged.[26]
  • Colton Haynes portrays Roy Harper / Arsenal, a character based on the DC Comics character of the same name.[27] Initially a petty thief, Roy was befriended by Thea, and subsequently dated her for a period of time. Roy is fascinated by the hooded vigilante, and eventually becomes his protégé. Haynes was moved to series regular status at the beginning of season two, following his recurring appearance in the first season.[28] Haynes left the series at the end of season three after his contract ended, and later appears in the fourth season as a guest star.[29] He later attributed his departure from the series to his mental and physical health at that time.[30]
  • Manu Bennett portrays Slade Wilson / Deathstroke, a character based on the DC Comics character of the same name.[31] Slade is an ASIS agent who teamed up with Oliver during his time on the island. In season two, Slade arrives in Starling City to kill Oliver and his family to avenge events that occurred on the island. Bennett was initially cast as a recurring character for season one,[31] before receiving series regular status during season two.[32]
  • John Barrowman portrays Malcolm Merlyn / Dark Archer,[33] a wealthy businessman, the father of Tommy Merlyn and Thea Queen, and Oliver Queen's nemesis. Fueled by his sorrow and anger at the murder of his wife, Rebecca during a mugging in the crime-infested area of Starling City called "the Glades", Malcolm left his then eight-year-old son Tommy, and departed Starling City to "forge his pain and anger into something more". For two years, he was trained in Nanda Parbat by Al-Owal of the League of Assassins. Merlyn took the name "The Magician" (Arabic: الساحر Al Sa-Her). He was the first person to receive permission from Ra's al Ghul to leave the organization, on the condition that he obey the League's codes. Upon returning to Starling City, Malcolm forms an organization called the Tempest and plots to completely destroy the Glades. Events eventually lead to Merlyn leading the League of Assassins and taking on the mantel of "Ra's al Ghul". Malcolm sabotaged Oliver’s family yacht, and is thus responsible for Robert Queen’s death and indirectly the creation of Oliver's and Sara Lance’s vigilante alter egos. Malcolm is apparently killed by Oliver in the first season finale, but his plan to destroy the Glades still succeeds.[34] He is based on the DC Comics character Merlyn. After being a recurring guest star for the first two seasons, Barrowman became a series regular in season three.[35]
  • Echo Kellum portrays Curtis Holt / Mister Terrific, based on the DC Comics character Michael Holt / Mister Terrific. Holt is a technological savant, inventor and medal-winning Olympic decathlete, who works with Felicity at Palmer Technologies.[36] He helps her rescue Ray Palmer from Damien Darhk. Kellum was upgraded to series regular in the fifth season.[37]
  • Josh Segarra portrays Adrian Chase, based on the DC Comics character of the same name. Chase is the new Star City district attorney who helps Oliver Queen as mayor clean up the streets through the legal system.[38]



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.[39] 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.[40] At the end of the month, Stephen Amell was cast in the titular role of Oliver Queen.[41] 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.[1] Unlike Smallville, the series does not initially feature super-powered heroes and villains. Instead, the team 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.[42] Production on the pilot began in March 2012 in Vancouver,[43] which would continue to act as the primary filming location for the series.[1] The series' skyline shots use a combination of footage from Frankfurt, Germany, Center City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Maryland, Back Bay, Boston, and Tokyo, Japan.[44] The series was given a full season pick up on October 22, 2012.[45]

"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."[42]

—Stephen Amell on the use of flashback storytelling.

Arrow features two storylines: one in the present, and the other, shown in flashback, during Oliver's time on the island five years before his rescue. These flashbacks are used to illustrate how Oliver transformed into the man that returns to Starling City.[42] Filming for the island flashbacks takes place in Vancouver's Whytecliff Park area, near beachfront homes. Much planning is required to keep the buildings out of camera frame.[46] Guggenheim said, "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."[46] Regarding the flashbacks after the fifth season, Guggenheim and Mericle stated that the series would explore flashbacks from other character's perspectives, such as Curtis Holt, along with the possibility of flashfowards. Guggenheim said, "We still want to make [flashbacks] part of our storytelling, because we do like them. We like when those non-island flashbacks sort of illuminate what's going on in the present day. That'll always be a part of the show and a part of the show's storytelling structure. It just won't be telling a serialized story."[47]

The series develops relationship triangles: some love triangles, others designed to catch characters in "philosophical debates".[48] 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."[48] 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.[48]

The team strives to include various DC Comics characters and aspects of the DC universe. Guggenheim cited Big Belly Burger, a restaurant franchise introduced in the Superman comics, which appears in Arrow's third episode and onward. Kreisberg said, "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."[46]

Costume design[edit]

The Arrow costume, worn by Stephen Amell, during the first season.

The realistic approach to the series included the costume design for Oliver's vigilante persona, created by Colleen Atwood.[49] 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."[42]

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."[50] 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."[50] 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."[50]

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.'"[50] 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.[51]


To compose the score for Arrow, executive producer Greg Berlanti invited Blake Neely, with whom he had first worked on Everwood. Neely created a score that combined electronic and orchestral cues, varying between action themes and romantic ones.[52] Berlanti told Neely the series would be dark, and the music should be as well. After reading the pilot script, Neely went away to start composing on his own.[53] 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."[52] A soundtrack for season one was released on September 17, 2013 by WaterTower Music.[54][55] Two versions of a soundtrack for season two were released on September 16, 2014 by WaterTower Music and La La Land Records; the compact disc release includes two exclusive tracks not available on the digital release.[56][57] On December 18, 2014, WaterTower Music and La La Records released a selection of music from The Flash / Arrow crossover episodes, as well as two bonus tracks from their respective 2014 midseason finales.[58] The Season 3 soundtrack was released in December 2015, consisting of 2 discs for the first time (previous albums consisted on one CD).[59]


Arrow premiered on The CW network from October 10, 2012, during the 2012–13 television season.[60][61] In Canada, the show is broadcast simultaneously on the same day as the United States.[62] The show premiered outside North America throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland,[63] on October 22, 2012.[64] In Australia, the series premiered on May 1, 2013,[65] on the Nine Network, before moving to Foxtel for the fourth season.[66]


Critical response[edit]

Ryan Fleming, of notes that Arrow "is honoring the comics, but it isn’t beholden to them. Characters like Jay Garrick – the Golden Age Flash – have been introduced, but they aren’t exact replicas of their comic counterparts. Instead, the characters tend to be loosely connected."[67] Hollywood Reporter reviewer Lesley Goldberg notes the presence of the character Thea "Speedy" Queen to be one of the larger departures from the series, as well as the character's early willingness to kill. [68] Other reviewers noted the sometimes loose connections between the series and the source material.[69][70]

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.[71][72] Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes calculated an approval rating of 86%, based on 35 reviews, for the first season. The site's 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."[73]

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."[74] Brian Lowry at Variety described the series as a "handsome but stiff surrogate for Batman that could benefit from sharper execution."[75] 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."[76]

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."[77] 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."[78] Season two received critical acclaim from critics and fans alike, for the action sequences, storytelling, performances of the cast, drama, and the portrayal of Slade Wilson.[79]

Despite a strong critical start for the season three premiere,[80] the second half of season three has met with criticism, particularly for its preoccupation with romance, leading to accusations of the show "devolving into a CW fever dream" and "turning Star City into Dawson's Creek"[81] and becoming a 'soap opera'.[82] After the conclusion of Oliver Queen and Felicity Smoak's longterm romance, the flashback sequences were characterized sporadic and "superfluous", with Ra's al Ghul described as a "shallow" and "underutilized" villain "absent of clear antagonism",[83] although Matt Nable was generally praised for his portrayal of the character. Furthermore, while parallels to Batman had always existed in the show, the use of such a major character from Batman's rogues gallery and the essential application of the "Daughter of the Demon" and several other Batman and Ra's al Ghul storylines applied to Oliver Queen came under particular fire from viewers, who accused the show of "ripping off" Batman.[84] The season finale was described as "dull", "lacking scope", and "underwhelming" by IGN's Jesse Schedeen in light of the "high standard" the show had previously established for its finales. He cemented the mixed reception of season three as being "haphazardly paced" and "struggling to develop a clear sense of direction".[85]

The fourth season received mixed reviews. The season earned a strong critical start, with praise given to the action scenes and Neal McDonough's performance as Damien Darhk. However, the second half of the season received increasingly negative reviews for its mundane flashbacks, lack of narrative focus and formulaic season finale.[86]


Season Timeslot (ET) Episodes First aired Last aired TV season Rank Avg. viewers
18–49 rating
Date Viewers
Date Viewers
1 Wednesday 8:00 pm 23 October 10, 2012 4.14[87] May 15, 2013 2.77[88] 2012–13 130 3.68[89] 1.2[90]
2 23 October 9, 2013 2.74[91] May 14, 2014 2.37[92] 2013–14 128 3.28[93] TBD
3 23 October 8, 2014 2.83[94] May 13, 2015 2.83[95] 2014–15 135 3.52 1.3[96]
4 23 October 7, 2015 2.67[97] May 25, 2016 2.19[98] 2015–16 145 2.90 1.1[99]
5 23 October 5, 2016 (2016-10-05) 1.87[100] TBA TBD 2016–17 TBD TBD 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.[45] In Australia, the premiere received 1.32 million viewers, making it the third most-watched broadcast on the network that night.[101] The UK broadcast was the highest-rated telecast of the week on Sky 1, with 1.85 million viewers.[102] In Canada, the first episode got 1.32 million viewers, making it the fourth most-watched airing of the night and the twenty-third of the week.[103]


Year Award Category Recipients Outcome
2012 Satellite Awards[104] Satellite Award for Best Television Series – Genre Arrow Nominated
IGN Awards[105] Best TV Hero Stephen Amell/Arrow Nominated
2013 People's Choice Awards[106] Favorite New TV Drama Arrow Nominated
Leo Awards[107][108] Best Dramatic Series Joseph Patrick Finn, Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim, Andrew Kreisberg, Melissa Kellner Berman, Drew Greenberg, Jennifer Lence, Wendy Mericle, Carl Ogawa Nominated
Cinematography Glen Winter ("Pilot") Won
Gordon Verheul ("Lone Gunman") Nominated
Best Visual Effects Jean-Luc Dinsdale, Pauline Burns, Andrew Orloff, Dave Gauthier ("Burned") Won
Best Production Design Richard Hudolin ("Pilot") Won
Best Casting Coreen Mayrs, Heike Brandstatter ("An Innocent Man") Nominated
Best Stunt Coordination J.J. Makaro ("Pilot") Won
J.J. Makaro ("Vertigo") Nominated
NewNowNext Awards[109] Best New Indulgence Arrow Nominated
Cause You’re Hot Stephen Amell Nominated
Saturn Awards[110] Best Youth-Oriented Series on Television Arrow Nominated
Teen Choice Awards[111] 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[112] Cinematographer Awards for TV Drama Cinematography Glen Winter csc, Arrow ("Pilot") Won
Broadcast Music, Inc.[citation needed] BMI Television Music Awards Blake Neely Won
TV Guide Award[citation needed] Favorite New Series Arrow Won
2014 IGN Awards[citation needed] Best TV Hero Stephen Amell/Arrow 2nd Place
People's Choice Awards[113] Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Actor Stephen Amell Nominated
Satellite Awards[114] Satellite Award for Best Television Series – Genre Arrow Nominated
Saturn Awards[115] Best Youth-Oriented Series on Television Arrow Nominated
Leo Awards[116] Program Greg Berlanti, Joseph P. Finn, Marc Guggenheim, Andrew Kreisberg, Wendy Mericle[117] Nominated
Cinematography Gordon Verheul ("Sacrifice") Nominated
Make-Up Danielle Fowler ("Keep Your Enemies Closer") Nominated
Stunt Coordination J. J. Makaro ("The Scientist") Nominated
Lead Performance – Male Stephen Amell ("Crucible") Nominated
Lead Performance – Female Emily Bett Rickards ("Three Ghosts") Nominated
Constellation Awards[118] Best Male Performance in a 2013 Science Fiction Television Episode Stephen Amell ("The Odyssey") Nominated
Best Science Fiction Television Series of 2013 Arrow Nominated
Teen Choice Awards[119] Choice TV Show: Fantasy/Sci-Fi Arrow Nominated
Choice TV Female Breakout Star[120] Emily Bett Rickards Nominated
Young Hollywood Awards[121] Super Superhero Stephen Amell Nominated
2015 Saturn Awards[122] Best Superhero Adaption Television Series Arrow Nominated
Leo Awards[123]
Cinematography C. Kim Miles ("Blind Spot") Nominated
Costume Design Maya Mani ("Suicide Squad") Nominated
Lead Performance – Female Emily Bett Rickards ("Left Behind") Nominated
Teen Choice Awards[124] Choice TV Show: Sci-Fi/Fantasy Arrow Nominated
Choice TV Actor: Sci-Fi/Fantasy Stephen Amell Nominated
Choice TV Actress: Sci-Fi/Fantasy Emily Bett Rickards Nominated
Choice TV Liplock Stephen Amell & Emily Bett Rickards Nominated
Choice TV Villain Matt Nable Nominated
PRISM Awards[125] Performance in a Drama Multi-Episode Storyline Katie Cassidy Won
2016 People's Choice Awards[126] Favorite Network TV Sci-Fi/Fantasy Arrow Nominated
Saturn Awards[127] Best Superhero Adaptation Television Series Arrow Nominated

Other media[edit]

Arrow has generated other media and spinoffs, including digital comic books and Internet-based mini-episodes with characters from the series.

Digital comics[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."[128] It was later released free online.[129] 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.[130] 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.[131][132] 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.[131][133]

A follow up to the original digital title, Arrow: Season 2.5, is written by Guggenheim and Keto Shimizu, one of the show's executive story editors and writers, with art by Joe Bennett and Jack Jadson. Arrow 2.5 is intended to tell one continuous story across two arcs, that fits within the television narrative. Guggenheim stated, "We've tried to put in all the elements that people like about the show... We're going to see what's happened to Detective Lance after he collapsed in the season [two] finale. A good chunk of the burning questions left over will get answered in the tie-in comic. Particularly towards the latter half of the series, we're going to start introducing characters [in the comic] who you'll see in Season 3... before they show up on TV."[134] On the comic's relationship to season three of the show, Guggenheim said, "Season three is designed to stand on its own feet without requiring anyone to do any outside reading. But what the comic book will give is a deeper appreciation for some of the moments [in the show] and a more complete narrative experience. If you want to go deeper into the story, that's what Season 2.5 is for." Shimizu added that the comic also allows the writers to "accomplish things on the page that are nearly impossible to do with our production schedule and our budget", including bigger action sequences, as well as visits to locations such as Kahndaq that cannot be recreated on the show. Additionally, the series has one to two pages each issue dedicated to the Suicide Squad, leading up to their own issue later in the run.[135] The character Caleb Green, who has ties to Robert Queen, will be created specifically for the comic.[136] Guggenheim said "The goal is to end Season 2.5 basically five minutes before Season 3 begins."[137] The comic launched digitally biweekly on September 1, 2014, with its first physical release featuring a collection of the digital releases releasing on October 8.[134] The series featured 24 digital issues, which comprised 12 physical issues.[136]

A third series, Arrow: The Dark Archer, is written by Barrowman with his sister Carole, and with an art team led by Daniel Sampere. The comic, initially set between season three and four of the show before flashing back, explores a younger Malcolm Merlyn and his past, with Corto Maltese and Nanda Parbat featured. Barrowman, who initially pitched the series to DC Comics as another with the ability to tell Merlyn's backstory, said he "had a backstory in my head for Malcolm from the beginning and a lot of it has made its way into our comic and onto the screen. I think it’s always been my job to help the audience relate to Malcolm in some way despite his questionable morals and evil ways." Executive producers Guggenheim and Kreisberg helped the Barrowmans ensure the story would fit within the continuity of the series. The 12 chapter series will be released digitally bi-weekly starting January 13, 2016, before the entire story is collected in a single print edition at a later date.[138]

Promotional tie-in[edit]

On November 6, 2013, a six-episode series of shorts, 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.[139]

The episodes set during the course of the second season of the television series, 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.[140] 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.[141] Felicity guides Roy through the lab, where he is able to recover the sample. As Roy is leaving, doctors enter the room, seemingly trapping him.[142] He notifies Felicity, who then hacks into the building's PA system, and issues an evacuation notice, giving Roy a chance to escape.[143] 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.[144] Roy returns to Queen Consolidated, and Felicity offers to mail the acquired sample for Roy as he goes in to meet with Oliver.[145]

Video games[edit]

A Green Arrow skin based on Oliver Queen's appearance in Arrow appears in the 2013 video game Injustice: Gods Among Us as downloadable content. The playable skin was given as a bonus reward to the first 5,000 voters of Injustice's promotional Battle Arena competition, but was later released as a free download. Stephen Amell lends his voice and likeness to the skin.[146]

Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham features an Arrow downloadable content pack that adds multiple playable characters, including Arrow, John Diggle, Felicity Smoak, Huntress, Slade Wilson, Roy Harper, Canary, and Malcolm Merlyn as well as vehicles and an exclusive level set during Oliver's time in Lian Yu. Amell reprised his role in addition to voicing the traditional Green Arrow in the game, while Cynthia Addai-Robinson reprised her role as Amanda Waller.[147][148]


On February 23, 2016, Titan Books released Arrow: Vengeance, a tie-in novelization written by Oscar Balderrama and Lauren Certo, which sets before and during the course of the second season, detailing the origins of Slade Wilson, Sebastian Blood, and Isabel Rochev, and how they eventually meet and collaborate with each other to battle Oliver's alter-ego as seen in the television series.[149]

Home release[edit]

Complete Season DVD/Blu-ray Release dates Additional info
Region 1/A Region 2/B Region 4/B
1 September 17, 2013[150] September 23, 2013[151] October 2, 2013[152] The DVD/Blu-ray box sets contain additional features, including making-of featurettes, deleted scenes, gag reel, and highlights from the Paley Fest. Season 4 includes The Flash crossover episode "Legends of Today".
2 September 16, 2014[153] September 15, 2014[154] December 3, 2014[155]
3 September 22, 2015[156] September 28, 2015[157] September 23, 2015[158]
4 August 30, 2016[159] TBA September 7, 2016[160][161]

Crossover with Constantine[edit]

Further information: Constantine (TV series)

In May 2015, Amell revealed he had had discussions with DC Entertainment to portray Oliver Queen on Constantine because Constantine is an expert on the Lazarus Pit, a concept used on Arrow.[162] In August 2015, it was confirmed that Matt Ryan would appear on Arrow in the fourth season episode "Haunted", per a "one-time-only-deal" that would involve his character being "brought in to deal with the fallout of the resurrection of Sara Lance (Caity Lotz) via Ra's al Ghul's Lazarus Pit."[163][164][165] Due to Arrow and Constantine sharing the same studio, the producers of Arrow were also able to acquire Ryan's original outfits. John Badham, who was a director on Constantine, directed "Haunted".[164] On filming the episode, Guggenheim stated it felt like the production team was "doing a Constantine/Arrow crossover, and it's so exciting... we're just really glad we got the chance to extend Matt Ryan's run as Constantine by at least one more hour of television. I think you'll see he fits very neatly into our universe. It never feels forced, it feels right."[166] In August 2016, Berlanti spoke to why Constantine was not used more in Arrow or the other Arrowverse series after the positive reception to Ryan's performance, saying, "Constantine exists in a certain place in the DC world and universe" and that he felt DC was "internally examining what they want to do with that character next."[167]


Main article: Arrowverse

In July 2013, it was announced that Berlanti and Kreisberg, along with Nutter and Geoff Johns, would be creating a television series, The Flash, based on the character of the same name, with an origin story for Barry Allen.[168] 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.[169] However, it was announced in November 2013 that the backdoor pilot would not be happening, with a traditional pilot being made instead.[170] In January 2015, The CW president Mark Pedowitz announced the intention to do a Flash/Arrow crossover every season,[171] and The CW announced that an animated web-series, Vixen, featuring the DC heroine of the same name and set in the universe of Arrow and The Flash, would be debuting on CW Seed in late 2015.[172] The character later made a live-action appearance on Arrow in the fourth season episode "Taken". The next month, it was reported that a spin-off series, which is described as a superhero team-up show, was in discussion by The CW for a possible 2015–16 midseason release. Berlanti and Kreisberg would executive produce alongside Guggenheim and Sarah Schechter. The potential series would be headlined by several recurring characters from both Arrow and The Flash, with the potential for other Arrow/Flash characters to cross over to the new series as well.[173][174] In May 2015, The CW officially picked up the series, titled DC's Legends of Tomorrow.[175]


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