In 2012 the American production company “CW” launched a new TV show called “Arrow”, telling the story of a billionaire playboy teen named Oliver Queen who disappeared 5 years before the show is set, leading his family and friends to believe he was dead. In reality, his father’s boat had been struck by a severe storm, with only Oliver, his father and his father’s bodyguard escaping onto the life raft. As they drifted along the sea, Oliver’s father soon realised that there was not enough food or water for the three of them, so, after handing a small notebook with a list of names in it and telling Oliver to “Right his wrongs” and that “all of the people in the book have failed our city”, he shot the bodyguard and then himself, leaving Oliver the sole survivor of the disaster.
Oliver later washes ashore on a remote island in the South China sea called “Li An Yu”, which translates into English as “Purgatory”. The island is a dangerous place. Not only is it covered in booby traps and mines, but there is also a terrorist militant organisation based there. Oliver meets a man named Yao Fei, an Chinese special forces operative stranded on the island – a man who is being hunted by the terrorist group on the island also. Yao Fei teaches Oliver the basics of survival, such as how to kill a pigeon for food.
However, it is not until Oliver meets Slade Wilson and Shado that he is trained how to fight, as well as use a bow (his signature weapon). Secrets about Oliver’s life for those last 5 years are slowly revealed throughout series 1 – 5 in various flashback sequences.
Superhero films and TV shows have become extremely popular in the last 10 years, with “Iron Man” and “Captain America” beginning the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe), all the way to “Infinity War” and “Marvel’s Agents of Shield”, however Arrow did something that many Marvel shows / films struggled or seemed afraid to do. “Arrow” doesn’t try to be funny or light-hearted, season 1 right of the bat, was dark and edgy. The main protagonist follows a list of names and kills them off one by one trying to save his city, killing hundreds of bodyguards / criminals as they go. And although Arrow or “the Hood” was essentially just a serial killer with a hood, he made the audience want to be on his side. The writers / producers also weren’t afraid to kill beloved characters off, and if a character dies, they stay dead. Normally. (Well, until “The Flash” was introduced in 2014). This was something I personally really liked because although I may have really grown attached to a certain character who would end up dying, I’d rather the story stays the way it was originally written rather than it appearing like they bring a character back because the fans didn’t like it.
Arrow signified a new trend of superhero shows on TV and Netflix, and setting the tone for what was to come. In 2014 “The Flash” was launched, with Grant Gustin as the Flash, later leading to both “Supergirl” and “Legends of Tomorrow” airing soon after. Each year since, there has been a crossover event, beginning in 2014/2015 in the “Flash vs Arrow” crossover event, getting more and more extravagant including more characters in crossovers such as the 4 episode “Crisis on Earth X” where every hero from each show battles an army of Nazis from another dimension (Earth – X [A reality where the Nazis won WW2) lead by “Dark Arrow” (Evil Oliver Queen) “Overgirl” and Reverse Flash, the main villain of season on of “The Flash” that had travelled to that world. (It all gets very confusing if you don’t watch the show).
Next year marks the end of an era in superhero TV shows with season 8 having been announced to be the final season of “Arrow”. However, if the past episodes of these shows is anything to go by, were likely to see him suiting up again in the future!
Written by Daniel Walker