The benefit of writing this Arrow review is that I did it after binge-watching Arrow on Netflix for a few weeks. Some sort of diabolical plot is, most likely, spinning out of control in Star(ling) City. Now, when I say binge-watching, I don’t mean hours on end, straight through. I don’t have that luxury. Picture my TV binge occurring when my husband is out of town and the kids are in bed. So maybe not bingeing, just watching exclusively. Whatevs.

Arrow is a TV series based on the Green Arrow comic books set in the DC Comics universe, the same universe where Batman and Superman live. In fact, Oliver Queen, a.k.a. Green Arrow, became one of the recurring characters on Smallville, which starred Superman as a young man. However Stephen Amell and his abs (Private Practice) play Ollie now, not Smallville’s Justin Hartley (Revenge).

I know very little about Green Arrow, so watching the TV series holds more surprises for me than more schooled comic book fans. (I’m looking at you, Mike Brown.) I have no idea, for instance, if what happened to him on that island is taken verbatim from the comic books or if the TV writers are improvising a bit. I’m guessing some of the other characters were inspired by comic book characters, but only time will tell.

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I am thoroughly enjoying Arrow. The series fills the hole in my heart left by Smallville. In fact, I believe the Queen manor is the same mansion that stood in for the Luthor residence on Smallville. I half expect sexy Lexy to walk into the drawing room with a tumbler of bourbon in his hand.

Arrow uses the winning formula of Smallville, which combines a hot lead male, soapy drama and plenty of action. Also like Smallville, the cast is made up of nearly unknown actors, but who are able to play up the melodrama while keeping their characters grounded.

Oliver was missing for five years, stuck on a scary, violent island, which is where he learned his amazing archery and combat skills. Using flashbacks that dovetail with an episode’s current story is an effective, and efficient, way of telling his backstory. Not only does it give us his personal history, but the flashbacks are enticing breadcrumbs, leading us down a path to explain the mystery behind Ollie’s personal vendetta against the corporate criminals of Starling City.

For anyone who finds Oliver Queen’s transformation from womanizing frat boy to noble champion hard to believe, let me say I’ve seen it happen with my own two peepers. Someone very close to me was once spending far too much time playing poker and drinking his rent, which resulted in a bottom basement GPA. Then came a trip to Alaska, a month of unemployment and tent camping in the harsh outdoors. The man who came home from Alaska was not the boy to whom we had waved good-bye. Granted, he didn’t don a hood, carve his abs and become a bow-slinging vigilante, but his entire approach to life, education and employment had changed. Perhaps Oliver Queen’s story isn’t quite so far-fetched.

The look of the show is dark and industrial. Plenty of design sins are hidden in the shadows, I’m sure, but the look works for Green Arrow’s story. Limited budgets sometimes bring out the most creativity in producers.

I’m anxious to see where this show is heading. I would very much like Diggle have more of his own storyline, rather than performing exposition almost exclusively. I’m enjoying the cast, as well, however I wish very much that Willa Holland, who plays Ollie’s sister, wouldn’t speak through her back teeth quite so much; it’s cute at first, but quickly becomes off-putting. And while there’s a whole Interwebz of folks who live for Ollicity, I would like to see Oliver with a woman who can match him. Stephen Amell (Oliver) and Katy Cassidy (Laurel) have great chemistry. Let’s put them back together, shall we?

What do you think of Arrow? Post in the comments below.