Arrow – Season 2 Premiere Review

City of HeroesIf it looks like a turd, smells like a turd, feels like a turd and tastes like a turd, what does that make it?  It makes it the first season of ARROW.  It was hotly anticipated by me as well as a ton of DC fanboys but fell faster than Ironside on an escalator.  Was that an insensitive joke?  Fine, it fell faster than Oscar Pistorius forgetting to tie his calf-laces.  Wait, that’s the same kind of joke?  Well put up with it, because I got nothing else.

DC never really seemed to have ‘gotten it’ with their comic-to-film translations.  SMALLVILLE might have been their best go and even that got overbearing after a few seasons.  It wasn’t until CHRIS NOLAN gave the BATMAN franchise a mainline shot of adrenaline that they started coming into their own.  In DC’s eyes, comic book movies don’t need to be silly, they can be dark and violent and still be worldwide phenomenons.  This, being in stark contrast (pun intended) to Marvel’s more family-friendly fare.  Not a bad thing by any means, but vastly different.

And that’s why ARROW was such a let down.  It could have been very good.  The acting was awful, but not nearly as awful as the dialogue, the action, the storyline… I honestly could not find one redeeming value in the first half of the season.  I almost never give up on a show, but I sure as heck cut this one loose after the midseason break.  Somehow, it remained popular among the comic book crowd, although I’m still convinced that its core audience must read their comic books in braille because they are not watching the same show that I suffered through.

So then came season 2.  I tried to resist but had nothing else to watch last night and out of sheer complacency forgot to delete it from my DVR.  What the hell, I’d give it another shot.  Amazingly, astoundingly, confoundingly, and confusingly, it wasn’t bad.  It wasn’t good.  It was freaking awesome.

Burn the first season from your brain entirely.  Forget it ever happened.  Just pick this show up from the second season and don’t ask questions.  I never thought it would be possible, but a few things had to have happened over the spring/summer:  1) They sent STEPHEN AMELL to acting school and he brought back some tips for his friends on set.  2) they dropped a few bucks in the budget on writers above a third-grade ability level and a director that is actually capable of direction.  3)  They all sat down for movie night and watched THE DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY on repeat until they learned something.

The Batman influence runs deep, but they adapt it quite well for the character.  I’m shocked to say that I was downright entertained by STEPHEN AMELL’S performance, especially in the action scenes and flashbacks.  Where the flashbacks were the low point of a low show, they are not so obnoxious this time around and are very well done.  His idiot friend is dead from last season, so we are not forced to put up with his dumb brand of stupid.  Musically, they adapted the soundtrack straight from TDKR in its thunderous tone throughout the whole hour.

ARROW is a much more mature show this time around, and I might actually stick with it the whole way through.  Granted, this is only my opinion based on the premiere episode… but they got so much right that they should be hard pressed to screw it up this time.  By the way, who do you think Flash is going to be?  They are supposed to introduce him at some point this season

A-, only because I couldn’t completely flush the turdy taste out of my mouth from season 1.  But I’m very happy to see that they made such a dramatic leap forward.