Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Hooked on Arrow

I admit: I am a weekend couch potato. There's a whole list of television shows I go through on Saturday and Sunday evenings (which means I am normally on do-not-disturb mode then). That is, until recently of course.

If there's one tv show I really drop what I'm doing for these days, it's Arrow.

While I was on Christmas break last year, the tv series piqued my interest as I was browsing my parents' Netflix subscription. Intrigued, and having no idea what this was about (as usual), I started watching the show with my mom. We quickly realized, as we were going through Season 1 episodes, that Arrow was a show we couldn't stop watching... after an episode ended, we had to go to the next episode to see what happened next. It was like watching a 22-episode arc of cliffhangers! So when I got back home, I just had to continue on watching Season 2, one episode a week, since I don't have Netflix at home.

The premise of the show is not all that different from Batman's origin storyline... if we're basing this on the Chris Nolan universe. Oliver Queen has a lot of things in common with Bruce Wayne. They are both billionaires. They both have secret lairs and secret lives. They both fight crazy criminals while hiding behind masks and using a lot of high-tech toys. They both received military training in the worst of environments. And even Ra's al Ghul's League of Shadows crosses over once in a while! There are differences between the two characters, of course... For one, Oliver Queen is known to be a playboy; Bruce Wayne, while also attractive, is portrayed to be more serious in his relationships. Batman is also a bit more of a lone wolf while Oliver, despite his objections, has two... no, three... no, four... well, he has a team backing him up. 

I wonder what it would be like if Bruce Wayne and Oliver Queen were in the same city. That would be so cool!

Anyway, back to my Sunday evening channel pit stop. The cast and the crew of Arrow have definitely made their mark on the small screen because the series is so well-made. Imagine watching on one hand, flashbacks of Oliver Queen on the island providing the audience an idea of how he got transformed into a fighting machine; and on the other, Oliver trying to live like the typical run-of-the-mill company CEO while living a double life as Starling City's resident vigilante... yes, all in one episode. We also get to see the other characters develop and we get to understand their motivations a lot more as they get their own story arcs. 

My favorite subplot so far? Ironically (but maybe not unexpectedly), it's not about Arrow or Oliver Queen. I like the character development of Moira Queen (from Season 1 to Season 2) the best of them all. At first, she was this mourning widow and grateful mother; but she turned out to be not as innocent as everyone expected. In fact, she was in the midst of the planning leading towards the chaos and destruction that happened in Starling City. And instead of seeing her as a pure villain for the rest of her life, we find out that she's really just a mother protecting her kids! We, the audience, kept riding the emotional roller coaster ride that is villain-today-heroine-tomorrow Moira Queen until the Arrow writers pulled a Games of Thrones at us. 

Just like that, Moira Queen was DEAD! 

It's very rare for me to be shocked by television series story arcs because a lot of them are so predictable; however, this surprise thrown at televiewers was so shocking that my jaw-dropped while watching the episode "Seeing Red". The cast was so good in this episode. The writers, geniuses. And Doug Aarniokoski, you are one great director!