While the 70s, 80s and early 90s were about sci-fi films and television shows like Star Trek and Star Wars, the 2010s are about comic book shows and films, and every indication shows it may go on for a while yet. Since Marvel laid the foundations of a Cinematic Universe with the success of Iron Man, the world and Hollywood producers have been paying attention to comic book projects. Billions in box office revenue later and it is impossible to list movies currently showing in a cinema or a network’s top 10 shows without mentioning a comic book adaptation. The CW network joined the comic book show train in 2012 with Arrow and since then, it has grown its catalog with several more shows, with most of them spinning off from Arrow. In a way, if Iron Man started off the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Arrow kick-started the CW superhero universe.
Arrow was conceived by Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim, and Andrew Kreisberg. The trio sought to make a show based on the Green Arrow, a DC Comics character who unlike most comic book superheroes, isn’t a super-powered hero but an incredibly skilled archer and fighter. The Green Arrow had initially debuted on screen in Smallville, a show about the origins of fellow DC character and comics’ icon, Superman. The trio wanted to create something different and show the sides of him that Smallville couldn’t explore because the character was not the central focus of the show.
The show went into development in January 2012 and David Nutter, who had previous experience with Smallville was contracted to direct the pilot. The show cast Stephen Amell as Green Arrow/Oliver Queen. The decision not to go with the former Justin Hartley, who had portrayed Green Arrow in Smallville was part of a creative decision to take the show in a different direction than Smallville and explore the humanity of Green Arrow in his universe. After a successful pilot screening, a full season was ordered by the network on October 22, 2012. Since its premiere, the show has been on the air for seven seasons and it is one of the longest running shows on television.
Arrow initially followed a typical villain of the week formula with an overarching story that is wrapped up at the end of each season, but that has evolved over time. The general plot of the show follows billionaire playboy, Oliver Queen who returns to Starling City five years after he was presumed dead along with his father in a shipwreck. He returned to Starling City determined to right the wrongs of his father and this kickstarted his life as a vigilante.
The first season introduces the dynamics of Oliver’s relationships with his mother – Moira Queen, his sister – Thea Queen, and his friends – Laurel Lance and Tommy Merlyn. While trying to maintain and redefine those relationships along with his own public image, Oliver spends his nights as a vigilante, hunting wealthy criminals in a notebook his father gave him. Oliver is helped by John Diggle and Felicity Smoak in his crusade and together, they uncover a plot by Tommy’s father, Malcolm Merlyn to destroy ‘The Glades’.
The first five seasons of the show is characterized by flashbacks detailing the unaccounted five years of Oliver Queen’s life before we were introduced to him in his return to Starling City.
After defeating Malcolm Merlyn and stopping his plan, the second season follows Oliver Queen’s vigilante life since he made the decision to stop killing criminals. He is, however, confronted by Slade Wilson, a man he spent some time with on the island, Lian Yu. Slade attacks Oliver’s family and allies seeking vengeance against the titular hero. The season unfolds with the tale of his feud with Slade Wilson and his growth as a superhero, taking on a protégé, Roy Harper.
The third season of the show, Oliver is confronted with a new threat in the form of the iconic comic book character – Ra’s al Ghul. He is forced to sell his father’s company, Queen Consolidated to Ray Palmer, a scientist, and an aspiring hero. Oliver also deals with his sister’s newfound knowledge that Malcolm Merlyn is her biological father.
In the fourth season, after a short period of retirement, Oliver and his team of vigilantes fight HIVE, a terrific group led by Damien Darhk. Through flashbacks, Oliver gets acquainted with the source of the magic power possessed by Damien Darhk. John Diggle learns that his brother who had been presumed dead is actually alive and Oliver discovers he has a son, William.
Oliver’s ineffectiveness at working alone following the death of Laurel and Thea’s resignation is explored in season five. He recruits four young heroes who become a part of the team and take on the fight against crime in the city. He spends the season trying to balance his life as a hero, and as the mayor of the city, while confronted by the mysterious Prometheus. The ever-fertile ground for criminals, new enemies rise for Oliver to deal with and the battle leads him into a war with Ricardo Diaz, a rising criminal in the city. Oliver is also faced with the rebellion of his team members who left the team in criticism of his leadership methods.
The seventh season explores the aftermath of the war with Ricardo Diaz which led to the imprisonment of Oliver Queen. His team is left with the responsibility of protecting Star City and Ricardo Diaz returns for revenge on Oliver. After the flashbacks ended in season five having chronicled the five-year journey of Oliver Queen, season seven returns with flash-forwards, twenty years into the future with Oliver’s son, William and Roy Harper.
Cast and Characters
Arrow is a long-running show with an expanded world. As such, it has an extensive list of cast members, both as main characters and recurring characters. It also features plenty of guest appearances.
Here is a list of some of the main cast members of the show:
Stephen Amell – Oliver Queen/Green Arrow
Stephen plays the billionaire playboy who becomes a vigilante. He was originally named ‘The Hood’ in the first season after his return to Starling City. For the role, Stephen took plenty of physical training and was also trained as an archer, which is the primary weapon of choice of the Green Arrow.
Katie Cassidy – Laurel Lance/Black Siren/Black Canary
Throughout its run, Katie Cassidy has played multiple characters on the show. She originally started as Laurel Lance, the former girlfriend of Oliver Queen who is an attorney and ends up as a vigilante alongside Green Arrow. She takes on the Black Canary mantle after her sister, Sara Lance, who was also a vigilante. She is reinvented on the show as a new character, Black Siren after Laurel’s death at the hands of Damien Darhk.
David Ramsey – John Diggle/Spartan
One of the show’s main characters, John Diggle was introduced as the bodyguard and confidant of Oliver Queen after his return to Starling City. He ends up being a part of his vigilante team and takes up the Spartan persona.
Paul Blackthorne – Quentin Lance
Paul plays the police officer and later police chief, Quentin Lance who has a complicated relationship with Oliver Queen and the Green Arrow. Paul’s is one of the most beloved characters on the show but sadly, the character died in the season six finale.
Emily Bett Rickards – Felicity Smoak/Overwatch
Perhaps the most polarizing character on the show, Felicity Smoak, who is played by Emily Bett Rickards, is a hacker who helps Oliver in his vendetta in season one before she gets incorporated as a season regular and a member of Oliver’s vigilante team in the second season. She’s a love interest for Oliver Queen and ends up as his wife and stepmother to his son, William.
John Barrowman – Malcolm Merlyn/Dark Archer
John Barrowman plays Malcolm Merlyn, the father of Tommy Merlyn who is Oliver’s best friend and the arch villain of season one. After being a vital recurring character for several seasons on the show, he was killed off-screen in season five.
Other notable casts and characters on the show are Echo Kellum as Curtis Holt, Willa Holland as Thea Queen, Colton Haynes as Roy Harper, Juliana Harkavy as Dinah Drake and Manu Bennett as Slade Wilson.
Seasons and Episodes
The show has been on the air since its premiere on the 10th of October, 2012. The first season had an average viewership of 3.68 million viewers but it suffered a slight dip in its second season. Towards the seventh season, having lost most of its goodwill due to the declining quality of the show, it suffered its lowest average season viewership in the sixth season with 1.76 million viewers.
Each season has featured 23 episodes with the exception of the seventh season, which is only expected to have 22 episodes.
Arrow Season 8, Trailers, Release Dates
With the season 7 of the show still ongoing, there is currently no news about an eighth season. However, there are no indications about a cancellation and the show is expected to continue past its seventh season.
Other Facts About Arrow
The show has been nominated for over 50 awards since its premiere. It has however managed to win just 10.
Arrow has served as a grooming ground for other TV shows like Legends of Tomorrow and The Flash. It also spurned off an animated TV show, Vixen.
The show has had several notable guest stars some of which include Seth Gabel, Tahmoh Penikett, J. August Richards, Robert Knepper, Peter Stormare, Matt Ryan, Karl Yune, J. R. Ramirez, Dolph Lundgren and Jeri Ryan.
Every year, there’s an annual crossover with other CW Superhero shows like Supergirl, The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow.