Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Superhero Media: Arrow - Season 3

Now, finally, in the third season, we can see the nerds that write Arrow really trying to bring out the superheroes. The prevalence of "Oliver Queen is Batman" and love triangle BS is much less and there is more superhero action than ever before. That the villain of the season being Ras'al'Ghul and the League of Shadows is a bit annoying, but taken as a backdrop to the idea of the team coming together, it works in the world that Arrow has built. So who forms this, "league of justice", if i may coin a term? The Arrow of course, and the Flash, Black Canary, Arsenal, Blue Beetle (sorry, the Atom) and Token Black Man, aka John Diggle. Ok, so it's hardly the New Avengers or the Secret Warriors, but at least we're getting a team in a television programme that's better than Heroes. Not that such a thing is beyond the reach of anyone reasonably competent. The cynic in me knows that it's all a lead-in to Champions of Tomorrow, but I'm determined to enjoy it while it lasts. 

Now that I consider it, it was the team-up episodes of Arrow that most interested me this season. Maybe it's the Marvel fan in me, wanting to see a shared universe of characters, coming together to fight a foe to powerful for any one of them to overcome individually. It's just a shame that said foe is occasionally Captain Boomerang. I mean, say what you like about the over-proliferation of Spider-man in film and television, but at least the villains are iconic and have many a point of difference between them. No one is likely to confuse Doctor Octopus with The Lizard, though the two do share the idea of science twisted to serve nefarious ends. Many of The Arrow's foes are so similar to each other, and to him, that they blur, and here, a few months after having watch the programme, I'm struggling to remember any of them other than Merlyn, Captain Boomerang and The Daemon's Head. 

Given the advent of the Netflix Marvel series, I feel that some of the initial shine has come off Arrow. With the limits of American network television, Arrow only has so much room to grow. There will come a point where there isn't a big enough audience for how "comic bookish" the programme has gotten, and I just hope there's a satisfying ending when that moment comes. Arrow is morphing into something that it hasn't really been yet, the first real representation of a comic book hero in prime-time, live action since Adam West's Batman. I wish them luck. But I still want Ollie in a Robin Hood hat with boxing glove arrows. 

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