Tag Archives: Arrow

Ranking the Show That I Watch – 2015 Edition: 58-55

14 Mar

Four hour longs start us off, two CW, one Netflix, and one Amazon.

Intro here.

58. House of Cards – 2014: 42

House of Cards

I probably wouldn’t have watched this past season of House of Cards if I didn’t traditionally marathon it with friends. No show benefits from that binge watching more than House of Cards. It’s a fun activity as a group, but the more you think about the show, the more it all falls apart, and the dumber it is. The show makes so little sense that the best way to watch it is to finish it because you can think. The ridiculousness can be fun, and it legitimately was in the first season; the binge-watching advice was as much backhanded compliment as insult. Now it’s just, well, very bad. On top of the mess that the show is, there’s a sense that the show believe it’s more meaningful than it is which eats away at whatever fun the show has left. Whether I watch again this season will depend on whether my friends and I put aside a rainy day and beers for it; otherwise it’s probably not going to happen.

57. Arrow – 2014: Not Eligible

Arrow

Arrow is the darker and more dour companion to the happier-go-luckier The Flash, which we’ll see in a minute, and I have fairly similar thoughts on both shows.  The Flash’s first season was better than Arrow’s downer of a third season, but Arrow’s fourth season so far has been better than Flash’s second, half of the episodes of which seem like back door pilots for new series (mostly CW’s upcoming Legends of Tomorrow.) These shows aren’t necessarily and are only enjoyable on and off. They lean in super hard to obvious tropes and are incredibly predictable, and because there are 22 of them a year, have some of the worst pacing and are incredibly repetitive. More than almost any other show, I’ve watched I feel like I can read or fade in and out and not really miss much from these shows, and while that’s been useful when binging to catch up with these shows, that’s not a compliment. There are charms; the actors are generally competent, and there are good fight sequences and moments of clever snappy dialogue. Still, it’s not quite enough; I’d watch a couple of hour season recap of each if someone made it, but I’m not sure I can justify devoting the amount of time required to watch this show and the following one moving forward.

56. Flash – 2014: Not Eligible

Flash

I’d rather not write separate pieces for this and Arrow, but here we go. The Flash can be fun, and relative to Arrow, it’s lighter, and it’s best when it stays that way. There’s a lot of emo, a lot of angst, a season long big bad, but and it stays fun when it’s just on the right side of mediocre. The Flash and Arrow don’t crossover a lot but they almost crossover just enough and there’s not enough difference in quality that I want to watch one without the other, and that means that it’s 44 or so episodes a year, or zero, which is a big commitment for a pair of shows that would be somewhat more compelling with a small one. Great shows are for everyone; Flash (and Arrow) are only for relative comic fans.

55. The Man in the High Castle – 2014: Not Eligible

The Man in the High Castle

I really wanted to like The Man in the High Castle. It’s an alternate history, which is a genre unseen on TV; as a history buff, I was definitely interested and it’s based on a Philip K. Dick book which I have shamefully not read but is well-regarded by my friends who have. It’s one of the classic alternate history premises; what if the Nazis had won World War II? In this world, the Germans control the eastern half of the US and the Japanese the West, but there are resistance groups working deep underground, which our unknowing protagonists are introduced to within the run of the show. There’s so much I want to explore within this premise, and so many interesting questions which could be asked and presented. The problem, however, is that the characters aren’t great or really even good. It’s hard to feel anything for the protagonists and the world building and plot doesn’t come fast enough to make up for the lousy characters. I’d be interested in coming back to it if the next season got glowing notices, but I’m saddened by how hesitant I am to return.

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Fall 2012 Review: Arrow

15 Nov

The titular Arrow is DC superhero Green Arrow, on whom the show is based, although I don’t know exactly how close.  My knowledge of Green Arrow is more or less limited to his name, Oliver Queen, his city, Star City, his sidekick, Speedy, and the fact that he and Green Lantern had a well-known comic in the ‘70s where he was liberal and Lantern was conservative.  I probably know a little more if I rack my brain, but I decided to leave it at that for this viewing and review, and save any further Green Arrow research for after.  So I’m not sure how accurate this show is, and can’t be angered/buoyed by changes made/not made for better or worse.

Oliver Queen has just been rescued, when we come in, from an island where he spent five years after a shipwreck in which he was the only survivor.  A super rich twenty-something playboy beforehand, Oliver changed profoundly on the island (seems plausible enough that five years on an island alone could do that), but he’s trying to convince many people he hasn’t, especially not telling them about his city-rescuing alter ego, a dude in a green hood with mad archery and not-getting-killed-by-guys-with-guns skills (which he gained on the island somehow?  I’m willing to suspend disbelief for a comic show).  He was apparently inspired by his dad (played by evil Homeland vice president Jamey Sheridan), who was on the boat too, and did everything he could to ensure that Oliver lived, pushing him to make up for all the bad that the family company had done after he was rescued, and somehow transmitting a very Revenge-like list of villains that have something come to them.

He reconnects with the people in his life, introducing them to us as they get reintroduced to him.  There’s his mom, who is now married to a former partner of his dad’s (if this was Castaway, she’d be Helen Hunt, and the new husband Benjamin Bratt).  There’s his sister, nicknamed Speedy (hint, hint?), who may have developed a drug problem in Oliver’s absence.  There’s his best friend, Tommy, who wants to rush Oliver right back to his playboying ways, throwing a big party to celebrate his return.  And finally, there’s his ex-griflriend, Laurel, now a do-gooder lawyer fighting for legal aid, whose sister died in the shipwreck, where Oliver was cheating with her, on Laurel.  Oh, and she’s now kind of seeing best friend Tommy.  Awkward.

We know he’s out to get all the people on his list, but no one else knows yet, and he shows his island-gained bow and arrow abilities in a couple of nice action scenes, taking out a shady corrupt businessman from the list and his legion of guards.  Oh, and his mom apparently was behind a kidnapping of him, which he escaped from towards the beginning of the episode.  So that’s about something.

I know more about comics that most people, but less than anyone who has ever seriously read comics, so as I said, I’m not judging this with the comic in mind.  I thought there was a chance that I would like it based on the little I knew and assumptions I made in my head, and I did enjoy it, which I think that’s more of an achievement than it seems.  I didn’t think it was great or a cinematic achievement or was blown away by it or plan on immediately telling everyone I know to watch.   I am going to watch the second episode though, and that’s pretty good; only a few series get that far every year  (the TV show equivalent of getting my Top Chef jacket and making the main competition – sorry, just watched first episode of new Top Chef season).

I enjoyed the set up and I think there’s promise in exploring the mysteries behind the shipwreck, his history, and what his mom is out to get, and I liked the characters and actions scenes enough to feel like I wanted to watch another episode after this first one finished.  There’s not much to the characters right yet, other than the broad strokes the episode generated – reformed playboy, debaucherous best friend, legal aid maturing ex, troublesome sister, but I think what kept me interested most was that it seemed to hit the right feel between serious and light and feeling comic book-y, where broad strokes, at least to begin with, are part of the natural order.

Random note:  The three things we see Tommy refreshing Oliver on which happened during his five years on the island –  Super Bowl winners, Black president, Lost ending (which, rightly, he doesn’t understand).

Will I watch it again?  Yeah, I think I will.  It’s not an instant must-watch by any means but it’s certainly at least on the level of Revolution which I gave a few more episodes, and I’ll at least give it two or three more and see if I stay intrigued or fall away.

Fall 2012 Preview and Predictions: The CW

24 Sep

(In order to meld the spirit of futile sports predictions with the high stakes world of the who-will-be-cancelled-first fall television season, I’ve set up a very simple system of predictions for how long new shows will last.  Each day, I’ll (I’m aware I switched between we and I) lay out a network’s new shows scheduled to debut in the fall (reality shows not included – I’m already going to fail miserably on scripted shows, I don’t need to tackle a whole other animal) with my prediction of which of three categories it will fall into.

These categories are:

1.  Renewal – show gets renewed

2.  13+ – the show gets thirteen or more episodes, but not renewed

3.  12- – the show is cancelled before 13)

It’s easy to forget that the CW still exists.  It does, though, and it, like last year, has three new fall shows, and like last year I doubt more than one will survive.  Let’s see, though.

Emily Owens, M.D. – 10/16

Owens is a first-year intern at some hospital in Denver where she realizes that both her medical school crush and her rival from high school both work. It’s like high school all over again, but in a hospital, which sounds about perfect for the CW. They really, really play up the just-like-high-school angle on the CW about page, and Owens looks pretty frazzled in the promotional poster (note: wikipedia has been sadly lacking in information about CW’s new shows so I’ve been spending more time than usual on cw.com).  Also noteworthy, series star Mamie Gummer is the daughter of Meryl Streep.

Verdict:  Renewal – the most generic sounding of the three CW shows, but, first of all, it sounds right up CW’s alley, and second of all, it’s most analogous to the CW show that eventually made the cut last year, Hart of Dixie.  In a complicated and mostly unnecessary analogy, Emily Owens is equivalent to Hart of Dixie, a show about a doctor which is mostly good spirited and has personal drama, Arrow is Secret Circle (this is the worst comparison), a show about people with abilities and possible conspiracies involves those people’s parents, and Beauty and the Beast is Ringer, a more hard-boiled action thriller.  Anyway, the entire analogy only serves the minor point of explaining why I’m choosing Emily Owens to be renewed over the other two CW shows.

Arrow – 10/10

Having raked in cash from ten seasons of Smallville, the CW tries to duplicate that success with a show about a less popular member of the Justice League, Green Arrow. Green Arrow is a bow and arrow slinging hero who in this incarnation is far more analogous to Batman than  Superman. He’s a billionaire playboy (CW’s words) who disappeared at sea for five years, and after finally returning has developed his Green Arrow alias, a vigilante persona, while being chased by a policeman.  Also, there may be sinister motives behind is disappearance at sea.

Verdict:  14+  It’s a superhero show, and superheroes are still pretty in, so it has that going for it.  It doesn’t look all that good though, and Green Arrow, while I’m personally a fan, is definitely a couple of rungs below Superman and Batman as far as comic book heroes go.    CW, since the ratings are even lower than NBC, is mostly a crapshoot, but I’ll say they give it the season and then give it the boot.

Beauty and the Beast – 10/11

An extremely random quasi-remake of the CBS ’80s series of the same name, Beauty and the Beast starts erstwhile Lana Lang from CW series Smallville Kristen Kreuk as, uh, the beauty, Catherine Chandler, a homicide detective (CW’s show page describes her as “smart, no nonsense” and “strong and confident”). When she was a teen, her mom was killed in front of her, and she was only saved by a mysterious human creature, which you may correctly guess, is the titular beast. Chandler has a partner and a boss but becomes unmoored when she discovers that a murderer that they’re tracking is a dude who has been off the official radar for years, presumed dead, and turns out to be what saved her from being murdered. He also turns Hulk-like into a beast sometimes for some reason. By the way, these CW about pages are just a treasure trove of tropes (say that three times fast), for example, describing her boss as “tough but fair” and describing her relationship with the friendly M.E., as “a fun, flirtatious relationship that could easily turn into something deeper – if Cat would let that happen.”  Maybe she will!

Verdict:  14+  I have no fucking idea.  It sounds highly forgettable, which leads me to not pick renewal, but I’m guessing that CW will be slow, like last year to cut bait on its shows, preferring to wait until the end of the season, even when the result is nearly inevitable.  It’s just a guess.