Arrow is the new superhero TV series on the CW. It was definitely made to fill the void left by Smallville‘s ending, and I think it does the job. While it hits many of the same beats, I think it surpasses Smallville (at least the first 5-6 seasons) in many ways.
Ollie is an adult.
Thank goodness. High School drama is ridiculous. If I’m going to have ridiculous drama in a show, I want it to be about adult superhero problems. Being an adult gives Ollie a certain amount of jaded-ness. He used to be a bit of a jerkwad; after the shipwreck (and the revealing of a dark secret by his father), he, like Batman, has to walk the line between the jerkwad public face and his more noble secret identity.
Dinah Laurel Lance and Tommy Merlyn
Remember how at the beginning of Smallville, other DC characters were doled out in such a miserly way? Arrow didn’t do that at all. Two of the main characters are Dinah Lance (who becomes Black Canary in the comics; she goes by “Laurel” on the show) and Tommy Merlyn (arguably Green Arrow’s arch-nemesis; here though, he is Arrow’s best friend, much like how they did the Luthor/Kent dynamic on Smallville.)
The other big reference that I noticed was Deathstroke’s mask on the beach where Ollie was living. If Deathstroke is going to take on Green Arrow, we could be in for some epic hand-to-hand combat. Speaking of which…
Remember how Clark Kent would just throw people? Green Arrow isn’t super strong, so he relies on his agility and hand-to-hand combat skills… and it works so well for televised action. The fights mean a little more when the hero could get knocked out or tazed at any time.
I like the parkour on the show. I think it’s fitting for the character.
Also, I don’t know if Ollie will take an oath not to kill people later, but he’s doing it right now. Arrows are a weapon meant for killing things, after all. He snaps people’s necks. He’s a bit brutal. Honestly, I think it makes more sense for the character, but I’m not sure how it’ll work out in the greater DC universe of the show.
Ollie’s dad told him a secret. Then he killed himself. When Ollie comes back, he is out for revenge. We’re not sure exactly why, but we know his mom is probably working for the bad guys.
The cops are also looking for a guy in a green hood. The lead detective on the case (played by the guy that played Harry Dresden, Paul Blackthorne), who is also Laurel Lance’s daddy, already hates Oliver Queen because his other daughter died in the shipwreck that marooned Ollie. So, there’s drama everywhere.
I’m going to keep watching. It has its cheezy and nonsensical moments, but that’s par for the course on a superhero property. Looking at the descriptions of some future episodes this season, we’ll see some guest stars like Kelly Hu and John Barrowman (squee!), and some other DC characters like Deadshot will be showing up. All-in-all, I’m glad that the CW has a superhero series again.