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“Arrow” an awesome surprise from the CW

“Arrow” is awesome. I never thought that would be the case when the CW announced they were making a show based on the DC Comics character Green Arrow back in 2011. But taking cues from the Christopher Nolan Batman films and adhering to a strictly non-“Lost” story pace, “Arrow” has become the best comic book show on TV, in my humble opinion.

The first season is available to stream on Netflix with its second season currently hitting all the right nerd triggers. While the Season 2 takes a little time to find its footing, (really, what show doesn’t), when it hits its groove, “Arrow” is remarkably enjoyable.

Starring the hunky Stephen Amell, whose abs will hypnotize you when he starts working out on the salmon ladder, the first season of “Arrow” was a surprise when it debuted in the fall of 2012. But, don’t hold the CW against it; hot off the heels of 10 years of “Smallville,” the network knew it had a moderate, yet passionate fan base of comic book fans, which they sought to appease.

What is interesting is how different this show is from “Smallville.” The pace of “Arrow” and “Smallville” is night versus day. “Smallville” took 10 years for its lead to officially take up his hero mantle, through a tedious amount of angst along the way, “Arrow” takes about 10 minutes.

Amell is charismatic, yet brooding in the role of Oliver Queen, strong, yet vulnerable. One of the more pleasant surprises is the role by the ever-entertaining John Barrowman. The man oozes sleazy charm, and is magnetic when he shows up on screen. His role is best kept secret, for its reveal is a worthy payoff.

It’s in the show’s payoffs that its success lies. When the mention of a character is teased, he or she shows up, or when you think you know where the story is going, it’s turned on its head and goes in a different direction. Reinvention is key to comic book stories today, because with decades upon decades of story building, the real challenge is just finding new ground, a challenge at which “Arrow” wholeheartedly succeeds.

“Arrow” may not live up to the standards à la “Game of Thrones” or “Breaking Bad;” however it really doesn’t have to. The show and its fan base know what it is and what it is not, and its main focus is to be a crowd pleaser. To say that it does only that would be an understatement.

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