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Category:    Home > Reviews > Superhero > Action > TV > Arrow - The Complete First Season (2012 - 2013/Warner Blu-ray w/ DVD + Ultraviolet Copy)

Arrow - The Complete First Season (2012 - 2013/Warner Blu-ray w/ DVD + Ultraviolet Copy)

Picture: B+ & B- Sound: B+ & B- Extras: C Episodes: C+

I am a huge superhero fan, so whenever a new series or film is announced I am clamoring to know more. I viewed Arrow when it originally premiered in October of 2012 on the CW Network. Now, The CW gave me mixed emotions right off the bat. In the past it has hosted (once) great series like Smallville, but in general it does not offer the best television programming today.

The premise of Arrow follows Oliver Queen (Stephen Smell) who after being stranded on an island for five years returns home to his city to fight crime. Oliver Queen is a vigilante who like Batman doesn't possess special (super) powers, but rather uses intellect, fighting skills, and his weapon of choice (a bow and arrow) to bring justice to Starling City. Also like Batman, Oliver Queen is a billionaire playboy by day before strapping on his superhero persona at night. The arrows Oliver uses are ordinary by no stretch of the imagination as they all have very specific uses depending on Oliver's need at the time. Due to his green hooded secret identity and is mastery of archery, Oliver has been dubbed The Green Arrow.

Whereas his main intentions are to avenge his father's death (dying in the shipwreck that stranded him on an island for 5 years) and make the world a safer place; Oliver is also trying to catch up on the last 5 years as society had left him behind. Oliver is surrounded by a barrage of new and old faces, some who intend to help him, while others lurk in the shadows waiting to strike. Oliver's mother Moira (Susanna Thompson) has remarried former CFO and now CEO of Queen Enterprises, Walter Steele (Colin Salmon). Though Moira seems elated to have Oliver back, we soon find out that she may know more about the yacht accident than she lets off.

Slowly over the First Season we are introduced to a number of people in Oliver's life, which concurrently gives us backstory as to what his life was like before the shipwreck. Oliver has a former girlfriend named Laurel (Katie Cassidy) who wants nothing to do with him as her sister died in the shipwreck, a bodyguard John Diggle (David Ramsey) who seems to be his only faithful companion, and Detective Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne) who not only has it out for the vigilante known as Green Arrow, but also has disdain for Oliver Queen who took his daughter from him (yes father to Laurel as well).

The First Season is portrayed as an action/adventure, but much of the time is spent developing relationships and bringing the audience up to speed on who Oliver Queen is as a man and a superhero. This is to say (yes) the CW holds true to its key demographic of angst driven teens who prefer abs and melodrama, but concurrently does deliver a solid enough superhero series. The established mythos of Green Arrow is there, though creators/writers abandoned all established Green Arrow story developed during Smallville, and is better than some other superhero disasters of the past. I will say at this moment Arrow has an adequate foundation, but where the series goes in Season Two will be the determining factor for staying power.

I feel at some points the episodes are poorly paced and drag, but overall not bad. The series was created by Berlanti and Guggenheim , the geniuses (sarcasm) behind Ryan Reynolds' Green Lantern film. The duo promised a darker, grittier series than Green Lantern , more akin to The Dark Knight Trilogy. Whereas the series is darker than Lantern, it certainly is not Batman and most likely suffers from the fact that Green Arrow is a second class superhero as compared to the many others that are appearing on the big screen today. There is a chance for him to hit it big, but again it will all depend on where this series goes.

The studios play it safe these days. Gone are the days of letting the big hitters (like Superman or Batman) be on the small screen, instead studios choose to let lower tier characters (like Green Arrow and Agents of S.H.I.E..L.D.) bring in the TV audiences. In the end, keeping the brand out there, but holding onto the best stuff for (hopeful) box office hits.

The technical features of this set (at least on Blu-ray) are very nice. The picture is a 1080p 1.78 X 1 High Definition that boasts of solid contrast, detail, and texture. The colors are somewhat flighty as they are not consistent and flesh tones are adequate at best. Whether the skin tones were intentionally altered, I have no idea, but again are somewhat off and oversaturated, which the anamorphically enhanced DVDs can have, but is weaker than the Blu-rays all around. The sound is a lossless 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio that is surprisingly well done in this First Season, managing to use the entire speaker range creating an energetic atmosphere. The dialogue projects with ease, clearly through the center speakers as the surrounds light up with action and ambient noises. You can hear that to a lesser extent in the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes on the DVDs, but they are no match for the DTS on the Blu-rays.

The DVD and Ultraviolet releases are merely downgraded releases of the Blu-ray so that the series can be used on other devices. The series is meant to be viewed in High Definition.

The extras include:

  • Deleted Scenes

    • 13 in total that range from 1-6 minutes. They add little to the episodes, but as a completist I like to have all the extras I can.

  • Arrow Comes Alive! Featurette

    • A very nice featurette on Arrow from concept all the way to the small screen

  • Arrow Flight School/Stunt School

    • A look at the stunts and fight sequences from the series

  • Gag Reel

  • Arrow: Cast and Creative Team at 2013 Paleyfest

- Michael P. Dougherty II


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