As I’m preparing to watch the second episode of the brand new CW series, Arrow, I find myself bristling with excitement about it. Is it because it’s another highly anticipated presentation of the superhero world? Eh, not really. I have SyFy’s Alphas for that. I’d have to say it’s because this is a bit of new ground for DC. After all, it is VERY rare that they depart from anything involving Batman or Superman – especially when it comes to live action. When compared to Marvel, who has premiered series and movies which star various characters from within their lineup including the Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Blade, Captain America, the Punisher, the Fantastic Four, Thor, Nick Fury, Black Panther, Men in Black, and of course, Marvel’s flagships – Spider-Man, & the X-Men. And with the exception of Black Panther, they’ve all been revived or redone in some manner. However, when you look at DC, only 7 heroes have had their own titles and (at least, initially) have had no ties to DC’s Superman/Batman breadwinners – Plastic Man, Captain Marvel (in Shazam), Wonder Woman, the Flash, Static (in Static Shock), Green Lantern, and now Green Arrow (in Arrow). And out of them, only Wonder Woman & Green Lantern have had a second chance beyond cameos (although the Green Lantern animated series premiered around the same time as the movie).
For the record, DC has had other series & movies that don’t involve Superman and/or Batman, but they’ve all been spin-offs in some matter – Supergirl is Superman’s cousin. Steel was a character who donned his uniform in homage to Superman (during the “Death of Superman” comic arc). Birds of Prey is a comic series based on a Gotham without Batman and stars the original Batgirl & Batman’s daughter. Krypto the Superdog, despite not having Superman, is about Superman’s dog. Teen Titans & Young Justice are both groups led by Batman’s protege, Robin. Not only was the Legion of Superheroes a [comic] spin-off of Superboy, but the animated series starred a young Superman as well. Even the recent Aquaman pilot was a spin-off of the recent Superman-based series, Smallville. So all in all, this is a pretty big step for DC since Green Arrow so far has only had brief cameos in animated series like Justice League Unlimited and was a supporting character on Smallville for two seasons.
(FYI: The next paragraph is merely presumption. I am not a DC\WB\CW insider.)
I personally believe that this series was an answer to the highly requested Smallville-like take on Batman by Smallville fans, whether it was a Batman cameo or his own series. However, considering the fact that Christopher Nolan had just finished a Batman movie series, it made little sense to create a brand new series around the same concept. BUT, producers must have liked the idea of a new Smallville-ish Batman-like series, so why not use the other powerless hero from a similar background (except with a Robin Hood-esque twist)…you know…despite the fact that he was already a regular character on Smallville. The main benefit of using this character is that it would allow the producers & writers to get dark with the series as the last few seasons of Smallville attempted to do.
For those who aren’t familiar with Green Arrow/Oliver Queen and haven’t seen Arrow or Smallville, Oliver Queen is more or less a modern day Robin Hood. While Robin Hood was purported to be a Crusade PoW of English nobility, Oliver Queen is the heir of an affluent family who gets marooned on a small island in the Pacific for 5 years. During that time, he hones his body to its optimum peak, mainly specializing in archery. Initially, he was a Batman clone, but was later developed into a champion of the poor & downtrodden in the 60’s.
As I stated before, I am fairly excited to see this new series. For one thing, unlike the early seasons of Smallville (and as Birds of Prey attempted to do), this series seems to be fairly dark. The first episode was somewhat vague as to where it was going, but the same could be said for many series. And as I said, it’s rare to see DC stray away from a Batman or Superman-based series. The television character so far seems somewhat thin with him being a spoiled rich playboy as he lands on the island, yet becoming a solid fighter of corruption upon his return. In the first episode, it almost seemed as though he does it for the adrenaline rush, but time will tell as the series goes on.