Arrow 1×01 – Pilot

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My Arrow preview can be found here.

I’m a sucker for superheroes. Growing up, I was hooked on Batman, X-Men, and the like. Green Arrow however, I’d never really heard of until this pilot was announced a little less than a year ago. I’m glad that I went in without any preconceptions because this was a first-rate pilot that has me extremely pumped for the rest of the season.

First off, the cinematography is spectacular. While I’ve praised several pilots this year for their fantastic production values (Last Resort, Revolution), this premiere just might be my favorite. Arrow might not have the budget of either of those high-profile productions, but it has a distinct visual style that it owns right off the bat. Beginning with those stunning island shots, the pilot just pops (as a comic book adaptation should) making it a joy to watch on every level. Moreover, the action sequences are appropriately thrilling and never once feel like they’re constrained to a TV budget.

Speaking of comic books, the similarities between Arrow and Batman are uncanny: billionaire playboy, masked vigilante by night… not that I’m a complaining because a weekly Batman show is an awesome thing to have.

In addition, the cast is uniformly excellent across the board. Stephen Amell is immediately impressive as Oliver Queen – superbly balancing the role’s vulnerability and physicality. I’m really looking forward to seeing him grow into the role particularly through his dynamic with Laurel Lance (played by the ever-gorgeous Katie Cassidy). Miss Cassidy has been one of my favorite TV stars in recent years and I can’t wait to see her evolve with the show (and hopefully become the rumored Black Canary as well).

Finally, I’m intrigued by Oliver’s mother Moira and the secrets she’s undoubtedly hiding. While the ending felt slightly rushed, I’m curious to uncover what role she played in recent events.

Bits & Arrows

– The opening island flashback was breathtaking. This pilot just looks like a movie. However, I’m no fan of the cheesy voiceover.

– The bits of parkour as Oliver chased the thug across the rooftops were marvelous. And the back-breaking? Badass.

– The dynamic between Oliver and Diggle his bodyguard looks like it’s going to be hilarious.

– A lot has been made about the training montage and it really is incredible. Those salmon-ladder pullups were insane.

– Oliver shooting arrows straight through what seemed like a dozen tennis balls was the episode’s visual highlight for me. Amazing.

– I like Tommy. He got the pilot’s best one-liners and he’s likeable with just the right dose of sleaze.

– The fact that Laurel’s sister died while secretly sleeping with Oliver adds an amazing layer to the show’s central love-story; I really can’t wait to see how they move past this traumatic incident.

– I quite like Thea/Speedy. I’m not usually a fan of annoying kid siblings but she’s immediately charming. Her relationship with Oliver is also surprisingly moving.

– Susanna Thompson who plays Moira is quite beautiful isn’t she? I don’t think I’ve ever seen the actress before.

 – I can already tell I’m going to love the action on this show. The final fight scene choreography was outstanding.

– Super-cool reveal as Oliver’s arrow drains the bank account.

– Although it was probably pretty obvious, I didn’t see the detective turning out to be Laurel’s Dad. They’re really not going to make this easy for Oliver.

– The moment in which Oliver’s dad shoots himself on the lifeboat was a jaw-dropper. And I’m eager to learn more about his involvement in Starling City’s downfall.

– So Laurel and Tommy have a thing going on… I have a feeling this love triangle is going to be a great one.

Starling Quips

Tommy: (To Oliver) Oh and Lost? They were all dead… I think.

Thea: What was it like there?
Oliver: Cold.

Detective Lance: Thanks for your statement, we’ll put out an APB on Robin Hood?

Laurel: (To Oliver) I couldn’t grieve because I was so angry. That’s what happens when your sister dies screwing your boyfriend.

Oliver: Which one is she?
Tommy: The one that looks like the chick from Twilight.
Oliver: What’s Twilight?
Tommy: You’re so better off not knowing.

Laurel: If, hypothetically, $50,000 magically appeared in your bank account, it might be best for you not to speak about it, to anyone, ever.

Tommy: Dinah Laurel Lance, always trying to save the world.
Laurel: If I don’t, who will?

Conclusion
A thrilling pilot for a show I feel I’m going to love for many years to come.

Nad Rating
A

4 comments

  1. I was going to review this, but I was left staggeringly uninspired. Not because it was a bad show, per se, just because it was so drab and, for me, uninteresting. It managed to be entirely different to Smallville (besides a couple of cosmetic similarities), and I thought Stephen Amell was great, but everything was so rapid and relentless that I found it hard to latch onto anybody or anything.

  2. I didn't think you'd like this. I've never seen a single episode of Smallville but I ADORED this pilot. Captivating, charming, and thrilling on every level. Can't wait to see more!

  3. Decided to take a shot and watch this Pilot, and it seems like Arrow is gonna be my new favorite show! Totally gonna binge-watch this, and I loved the action scenes as well: very movie-like!

    One thing I noticed though, do you see the resemblance to Revenge?? Haha, I literally smiled when he crossed out a name from that list…reminded me of Emily Thorne's red Sharpie! That was such a weird coincidence for me since I walked into this Pilot with absolutely no expectations and having read zero reviews about Arrow.

    Can't wait to catch up on this series, and to read your intakes on the episodes 🙂 Looks like I'm about to bore you with more comments soon so prepare yourself!

  4. Woohoo Chris. I am BEYOND excited that you started Arrow. This and The Good Wife are my top two at the moment and I feel you are REALLY going to love Arrow. Stick with any weak episodes and comment on every review if you want to 🙂 Trust me, the show just gets better and better!

    And you're so right about Revenge. I'm sure I mentioned that in one of my reviews. Especially the list thing which is so familiar haha!

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