Arrow Season Three Premiere Initial Thoughts

I like Arrow. I think of it as the closest thing we’ll ever get to having a live-action Batman TV show and that’s a good thing. If you’ve watched Seasons One and Two, you’ve noticed how certain situations, images and lines of dialog were lifted straight from the Christopher Nolan Dark Knight series and the (Green) Arrow himself is as close to Batman as you can get. I realize the Green Arrow is its own character, with its own history, I still see Arrow as a TV version of The Dark Knight trilogy.

Stephen Amell is great. He’s not the most skilled actor, but that’s not a problem at all. In fact that’s the main reason I like him in the lead role so much. He’s like William Shatner from The Original Series. He’s got the look. He’s got the athleticism and he can act just enough to get by. However, the X factor Amell has is his unintentionally funny dramatic scenes. In dramatic scenes, when Oliver is having an emotional moment with whoever; Laurel, Felicity, Sara, Thea, whoever, his gaze wanders to the side as he gets a vacant look in his eyes. This has happened in dozens of scenes over the past couple of seasons. For me, it’s awful acting… but I find that charming and it actually has a campiness to the show that keeps it fun for me. I’m not making fun of it. I’m just amused by how hard it’s trying and I respect that.

So, here we are at Season Three. I am a big, big, big fan of Season One. It had a strong, focused story arc from beginning to end. The Season One Finale was closure to all the story lines building over the season. Season Two faultered big time. The writers were definitely throwing in everything they could fit into the script. Sara is still alive, but now she’s a rogue assassin from The League of Assassins. Laurel has a drinking problem. Queen Consolidated is being taken over. Slade loses his mind on the island. Thea still has a funny Donald Duck lisp. There was no focus through Season Two other than Slade was there to get revenge on Oliver; something he pretty much could’ve done at any time since he was face to face with Oliver’s loved-ones throughout the season. Anyway, whatever. Season Two was messy but fun and it ended well. It provided solid closure to the Slade/Arrow revenge plot which was getting pretty tedious by that point.

Speaking of tedious, ok, I’ll finally cover the Season Three Premiere. I’ll just go in bullet points because I don’t feel like obeying grammar:

  • Flashback Oliver has a better wig now. I immediately miss the crappy, chessy wig, but this new Hong Kong wig has more natural body which gives it a rock star vibe.
  • Hong Kong flashback stuff… oh boy. I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of the flashbacks. I really don’t care about Oliver’s mysterious pass anymore. I’d rather have them eliminate the 10-15 minutes of flashback time and devote that to better characterizations of the present day stuff.
  • Brandon Routh. I guarantee that everyone’s response to this casting was: “That’s nice that he’s getting work.” I like Routh. His Superman performance was awkward, but that’s the filmmakers fault for casting such an inexperienced actor in a major role like that. Routh did his absolute best job to play Superman and it shows. He’s nearly a decade older now, and he feels more comfortable in this new role of Atom Man or whatever they’ll call him. I think he could really had a fun element to the show, so I’m looking forward to where they’re going with this character.
  • Diggle can’t get any respect. I really dug the chocolate and vanilla bromance between Diggle and Oliver in Season One. They tag teamed crime like a bunch of bosses. In Season Two, the writers had no idea what to do with him. There were numerous times Arrow was “out in the field” alone with Diggle at the lair with Felicity for no reason. They at least acknowledge that now with Oliver’s concern about endangering a father-to-be. I really hope Season Three does more with Diggle because he’s become irrelevant with the addition of Roy.
  • Oliver and Felicity is so barf-worthy that I can’t help but love/hate it. The whole thing about Oliver being deeply in love with her is so manufactured that I really hope the Arrow writers have something up their sleeve. It’s too artificial to simply add to the show simply because she’s the only girl that Oliver hasn’t stuck with his pink arrow… well, except for Thea but seriously, man. Why are you even taking it there? You should be ashamed of yourself.
  • Sara! Nooooo! I mean, yes! Because I like it when shows make bold moves. Again, I’m very eager to see where they take that story twist.

So, those are just some initial thoughts on Arrow’s Season Three Premiere. Do you watch Arrow? Let’s me Arrow buddies on Twitter @Junkballmedia. I turned off comments here because of the dozens of spam bots that try to sell me discount handbags and NFL mugs.

First Impression of Gotham

I’m definitely a pessimist when it comes to Gotham. I like Batman like most people, but was skeptical about a Batman show without Batman. It really felt like a cheap ploy to capture an audience by simply setting a generic cops and robbers show in Gotham. As of writing this, we’re only three episodes into the first season, so that might still be the case eventually. However, so far so good.

The pilot episode was disappointing because, well, I didn’t see a single pilot in the show, nor did I see a single airplane. Ok, kidding aside; the first episode was a bit dry but that’s true for a lot of shows. Producing a pilot episode of a new series is a difficult task. You have one or two hours to introduce a bunch of characters, then introduce the situations and world these characters live in. Then you need you need to convince people to care about these characters and situations. On top of all that, you need a story because otherwise you’re just checking off a laundry list of exposition.

In any case, Gotham’s pilot episode felt like a laundry list of exposition. It didn’t waste any time in killing off Bruce Wayne’s parents. I find death scenes fascinating because it’s one of those things all actors have to go through at some point whether it’s in school or professionally. The Thomas and Martha Wayne death scene acting was pretty hokey, but we won’t have to see those actors much again, so no big deal. The important thing the show wants to get across is that a young Selina Kyle witness their deaths too. I think this is a great idea. It actually forms a bond between Catwoman and Batman. Thematically, Batman is a loner. As far as he’s concerned, he was the sole person to experience his parent’s murder. However through chance, Catwoman was a bystander to those murders which could provide the basic sympathy and understand she’ll have for Batman regardless if he ever learns that she witnessed his parents’ death. So, nice twists on that.

Immediately afterwards, we’re introduced to Jim Gordon and his what’s-his-face partner. It’s pretty basic goodcop/badcop stuff. Their hunt for the Wanyer family murderer is the backdrop for introducing the audience to other significant characters. I honestly didn’t care about anything that happened and found myself zoning out for the rest of the episode. That said, it’s a pilot and I had nothing better to do, scratch that, I was too lazy to do anything else so I watched the next episode, “Selina Kyle.”

This episode immediately sucked me in. First off, full confessional: I hate homeless gutter punks. So, when Lily Taylor and the dude from Field of Dreams show up kidnapping them, the show got my complete, undivided attention. Sarcasm doesn’t work too well on the internet, so just kidding about the hate of homeless kids. The episode overall was satisfying. It had a cohesive beginning, middle, end and my standards are low.

The third episode was even better. The angle with the Balloon man playing social justice, vigilante was great. Seeing young Bruce feed off the news and form his own opinions of what a vigilante should be portrayed the development of Batman like no other Batman production ever has. Also, the rapport between Jim Gordon his partner whats-his-face is settling in to a nice groove. They’re genuine mutual respect for each other, yet their core values are still at conflict. So, I really look forward to seeing their relationship continue. Whats-his-face has dead guy written all over him, but I’m assuming the show is going to make us fall in love with him before they decide to kill him off, so let me preemptively say to Gotham’s producers, assholes! And good job so far.