Since I’m still remarkably and spectacularly wrapped up in Doctor Who, I thought I might take a moment to encourage anyone out there who hasn’t yet checked it out to hurry and catch up on Arrow. Now is the perfect time because the show’s on break until March 20. With only 16 episodes so far, it would hardly take any effort at all to be ready when they come back for the final stretch next Wednesday.
I was really excited when this show came out in October. I love comic book stories, even though I’ve never been a comic book reader. (Until recently when I started Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman, which is as awesome as people promised.) Even without the background information, I’ve always been really into whatever incarnation of superhero stories was available on film and television, so the previews for this show really intrigued me. It didn’t hurt that they often promo’d with shots of billionaire-playboy-by-day, bow-and-arrow-wielding-vigilante-by-night Oliver Queen doing some sort of physical fitness routine sans shirt. (Shirts obviously get in the way when your muscles are that big.) While the general prettiness of the entire cast fills the void left by Gossip Girl, this show has a lot more to offer than eye candy.
Namely the relationships. After five years of being shipwrecked on an island left him severely scarred, seriously ripped and remarkably accurate with his weapon of choice, Oliver Queen returns home and attempts to resume his life of frivolity on the surface while secretly dressing up in leather pants and a hoodie and taking out the pestilent 1 percenters that have been inflicting a variety of morally corrupt and ethically reprehensible acts of cruelty on the masses of poor folk in Starling City. I always enjoy characters who lie, whatever their reasons may be. It’s just a great plot device to throw a lie in there and see what conflicts arise, and the whole double-identity thing is a perfect example. The way this affects his reentry into life is well played and the relationships with his mother, sister and friends become a constant challenge.
Add in the ex-girlfriend whose sister died in the shipwreck while getting sexy with Oliver, the best friend who is now dating said ex-girlfriend, ex-girlfriend and dead sister’s police detective father who has sworn he will catch the vigilante and best friend’s dad (played by John Barrowman of Capt. Jack Harkness fame!) who is just generally very creepy and you’ve got a bunch of really great, endlessly intertwining interactions.
And while all of this is really interesting and loaded with intrigue, the relationship between Oliver and his team is especially fantastic. This next bit gets a little bit spoilery, but I think both of these developments are foreshadowed enough early on that it’s forgivable. In the first couple of episodes, we’re introduced to John Diggle, who starts out as Oliver’s bodyguard but quickly becomes his partner in crime(fighting). Later in the season, Oliver trusts his identity to Queen Consolidated IT expert, Felicity Smoak, a feisty and clever blonde with great style, nice specs and ever-flawless lipstick. I really like where the plot is taking these three as they attempt to navigate the wobbly lines of gray that are inevitable with vigilanteism and an undercover quest for social justice.
They’ve already announced that Arrow is picked up for another season, but I just read here that Felicity is so popular she will feature heavily in the storyline as it continues. This is great news, as you will see when you become addicted to this show. The lonely life of a hero is all fine and good, and we see plenty of that as Oliver tries to sort out his relationships with everyone around him. But I think characters with such weight on their shoulders become so much more human and their struggles that much more sympathetic when viewed through the lens of close allies that continue to challenge them. (Think Alfred and Bruce Wayne.)
I know this is my favorite show on TV right now because it’s always the first thing I watch on Thursday afternoon when I’m catching up Wednesday night’s shows. I love Supernatural and Nashville, but I never even wonder where I should start. So far, I got my mom (who just said, “I even like it when he takes his shirt off and I’m an old lady!”) and best friend hooked on this show and everyone I talk to who watches it is equally excited. So, if you haven’t watched it yet, go do it now so we can talk about it on March 21.
Things I’m watching right now: I’m nearing the end of season 5 of Doctor Who and I am delighted with Matt Smith as The Doctor. I was nervous because I’d become so very fond of David Tennant, but the first bit of season 5 was quite possibly the most endearing introduction to a new doctor and new companion that could ever be. Fish custard = Adorable. So darling, I had to watch it again.
Things I’m reading right now: Still on John Steinbeck’s The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights, which features brilliant sentences like these two: “Like many cruel and evil women, Morgan le Fay knew men’s weaknesses and discounted their strengths. And she knew also that most improbable actions may be successful so long as they are undertaken boldly and without hesitation, for men believe beyond proof to the contrary that blood is thicker than water and that a beautiful woman cannot be evil.”
Things I’m trying not to watch right now: Really can’t wait to start Torchwood.
Things I’m trying not to read right now: After the Agatha Christie episode of Doctor Who, I’ve been resisting the Christie section of my bookshelves. I have a bunch I’ve yet to read that I picked up at library book sales.