Monday, November 12, 2012

Arrow

A friend of mine got me into the new CW series based on Green Arrow, appropriately named Arrow. Firstly, the good things are that the design and direction are really good. The city and characters are apropos of each other and mostly realistic. The actors themselves always do a good job and are mostly consistent and generally lean more toward reality, although the show dips into melodrama and some annoying clech├ęs here and there. It's actually pretty fun to watch and the story so far is good, but kind of absurdly linear.

Secondly, just about everything else is annoying, and even some of the good things are annoying.
Man, this got old quick
While the actors themselves are pretty good, there are just things about them that are annoying. Green Arrow himself does the Bruce Wayne thing of being really playful while not green arrow and really gritty while he is. It's annoying and not done well. It fits and it's sort of how things need to be (otherwise he'll just be like Micheal Knight) but it's getting old, fast.

Let's keep on with Green Arrow. He looks really stupid. His costume is alright and discrete, which fit his character well, but his idea of a disguise is fucking dumb. Faceblack and a shrouded hood that causes him to stand like Quasimodo. When talking to his exgirlfiend of yesteryears, it's a mystery how she can't recognize him because of his obnoxious, constantly unkempt goatee. In a spectacular scene where Arrow has exquiped his green attire for a uniform and a balaclava, they look straight into each others' eyes and she is none the wiser. It's really annoying. You'll probably never see this woman drive due to her incredibly poor vision.

Each scene feels like it's taking place on a set. A friend of mine says it's filmed like a soap opera and I think that comparison is the best. Every scene is on a sound stage and it's seriously confined. I know this is a quark of all visual media, but I feel claustrophobic. The show desperately needs to be opened up. I know there are budget restraints, and so I can get over some of the constant reuse of various sets, but the variation has gotten very sparse in five episodes.

The worst part about the sets is that they're often unexplored. The same angles are used constantly. The spaces are never opened, and characters seem like they're glued to their spaces. In an annoyingly untense scene where Arrow's exgirlfriend points a gun at him, the characters actually walk the same path, and their blocking is almost exactly the same. That's terrible. The locations and sets are really the worst part of the show because they're so inorganic and static, and they're crazy small. In a prison break scene, I swear the gang runs through the same room four times like we're watching the Flintstones.

The second worst thing is the linearity of the story. I know this is a TV show, and an American TV show at that, but the story is really undeveloped and becoming very predictable. American TV shows have a habit of setting up grand stories to develop over multiple seasons, some spanning nearly a decade, but Arrow really can't. The issues discussed in each episode are amazingly shallow and unexplored. Characters are magically mystified by each other and then instantly turned against one another. Every character flip flops as fast as Mitt Romney and his failure of a presidential campaign.

The story is really a mess because often the character relationships are glazed over quickly, while plot elements are often spaced out and used sparingly. One relationship in particular is very great, and the two characters involved are often undiscussed and ignored. It's actually really sad because they're going to make or break this series and if the show's writers don't shift some of the focus on them, and off of the footsie the rest of the characters are playing with each other then the show will fail, at least from a story point of view.

But watch the show. It's good enough for that and the episodes are currently on Hulu and air on the CW. I'm hoping the show will get better (even though I know the sets aren't going to be getting better any time soon) and the story has great potential. The actors need to step up their game a little and the character's flip-floppyness and somewhat sporadic emotions should be kept in check but the show is young. I don't expect a lot from it but I really do want to enjoy this show.

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