Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Diva's 2012 New TV Series Recap Part 2 - Still Trying to Fall In Love With "Arrow"

The CW is well known for shows that target the younger audiences, with many of them focusing primarily on adolescence and young adulthood - like "The Vampire Diaries", "Gossip Girl", "Veronica Mars", "One Tree Hill", "Smallville", "Supernatural" and more.

Some of these shows get cancelled after a number of episodes, several of them continue on for multiple seasons, and a few become cult hits.

Naturally, with the kind of target audience that the CW is able to capture, the network seems best-suited for comic-based stories. "Smallville" lingered for a good 10 seasons and with that gone, the CW and comic fans were twitching for something new to fill that space.

In comes "Arrow", with the promise to please those who were looking forward to a series based on the DC Comics vigilante superhero, Green Arrow aka playboy millionaire by day, Oliver Queen. 

- dark and very macho lah, but emotionally empty
"Arrow" was one of those shows that Red Dot Diva desperately wanted to fall in love with. Like the kind of love she has for "The Walking Dead" or "Dexter".

Unfortunately, the preview screening on Comic-Con Preview Night fell flat of her expectations. (Her previous blog post here on Preview Night here.) Maybe she should have expected less. She is not quite sure.

The pacing of the first episode was so labourious to watch, she nearly went green after the first 30 minutes. There were endless lines of cheesy voice-overs, tons of flashbacks (a technique being used way too often these days) with a grouchy uncharismatic lead (Stephen Amell) taking up space for most of the scenes. Even the display of Amell's impressive muscles was not enough to captivate her attention. And usually, Red Dot Diva is very easily distracted by hunky bods.

Still, she felt it was not fair to judge an entire series by just one episode. Many shows actually rev up to something unique and entertaining in the following eppys. And so, she set aside her prejudices to watch the next four episodes.

What ensued were more flashbacks, even more lengthy self-expositions (it was like listening to an ex-boyfriend regale about his BMT days.. like, endlessly!), dark revelations of Mommy Dearest intrigue and an ex-girlfriend-who-really-needs-to-get-a-life.

Red Dot Diva cannot fault the production values though. Compared to the other new Fall 2012  shows, "Arrow" is still one of the better ones. The sets look good on screen, dressed up by so much eye-candy. Everyone looks so pretty. The choreography for the action scenes were nimble, and there was enough violence to keep her engaged. Generally, the plotlines were also more mature, darker and offered so many possibilities that one tends to wish the tale moves more forward than backwards with the flashbacks. There is another thing about "Arrow" that Red Dot Diva is grateful for - the Mandarin spoken by recurring actor Bryon Mann for his character Yao Fei sounded realistic. (The same cannot be said for Kelly Hu's China White though!).

But with everything else that seem to work for "Arrow" including its creators paying due homage to its comic book origins, the series has come across as somewhat stone cold. As much as she wishes she could love the show, Red Dot Diva is still unable to emotionally connect to it after five episodes.

There seems to be a spark of hope though. Episode 5's "Damaged" begins to set a slightly better pace with the ditching of those boring voice overs. Now that John Diggle is in on the "The Man In The Hood" secret, more actual conversations would be appreciated, thank you. In fact, Diggle (David Ramsey) might be the only character Red Dot Diva is becoming to like more. Plus, he also owns a pair of very magnificent biceps that are more awesome than Queen's.

Nommy Diggle Biceps

And towards the end of the episode, Queen/ Amell finally seems capable of being less one-note and a tad more convincing when he spouted his "I'm damaged" lines to Lauren. That's before he gets all glacially hardcore about The Mission being first again.

So dear "Arrow", there is still no BIG FEELS here at the Red Dot Diva camp.

Shoot me, please?


Don't just take Red Dot Diva's word for anything! Here are other viewers' thoughts on "Arrow"!

@If_I_Fell: It's like a darker Smallville with a favorite character that I never thought would get a show.

@SDCCNerdsAttack: I've been loving Arrow! Action, good looking people and decent story! Good for a new comic fan!

@dref22: I think I like it so far! The man character is too trigger happy though!

@JWalkIV: On the border with Arrow. I’ve always liked Blackthorne but not feeling invested in the other characters yet. There’s only so much superhero pretending to be spoiled rich kid that I can take. I’m starting to like the bodyguard though.

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