SF elements: Green Arrow
  1. season 1. 2012
  2. season 2. 2013
  3. season 3. 2014
  4. season 4. 2015

2012 / DVD

23 × 45 min episodes

[DVD sleeve]
season 1 review
My name is Oliver Queen. For five years I was stranded on an island with only one goal – survive. Now I will fulfill my father’s dying wish – to use the list of names he left me and bring down those who are poisoning my city. To do this, I must become someone else. I must become something else.

Oliver Queen [Stephen Amell], billionaire member of the Queen dynasty, has spent the last five years stranded on a tropical island, with everyone thinking he had died when his father’s yacht sank, along with his father Robert, and his girlfriend’s sister Sara. He’s just been found alive, and he has changed. He’s a man with a mission, to clean up Starling City. Using archery.

The season has an overall arc, as the heinous plot Roger Queen was party to is slowly revealed. This arc is woven into bad-guy-of-the-week episodes, where the anonymised Oliver, known as The Hood or as The Vigilante, picks off the bad guys who have “failed this city”, one by one. The timeline slices back and forth, to show Oliver’s transformation on the island, from spoiled playboy to hardened killing machine. This transformation is very well done: initially, I wasn’t even sure it was the same actor. But getting well-muscled, a cropped hair do, and a rigid stance, makes for a whole new Oliver.

the vigilante

This is entertaining, in a dark, violent, morally ambiguous way. Hell, it’s not even ambiguous: Queen has earned the name “Vigilante”. For this reason, I actually find the island scenes more interesting, as I don’t feel quite so complicit in cheering on the homicidal psychopath cleansing the city of other homicidal psychopaths.

I find the “civic patriotism”, all the talk of “my city”, rather weird, though. This identification with current domicile is foreign to me: I’ve moved a lot in my life, and am not “rooted” to any one place. I’ve asked others, however, and they do claim to understand the feeling (of “my city”, not of turning into a random psychopath cleaning it up).

I’m looking forward to season 2, if only to find out the rest of the island story – oh, and also what Oliver does next in Starling City, having sort of fulfilled his father’s dying wish about it.

Rating: 3
[ unmissable | great stuff | worth watching | mind candy | waste of time | unfinishable ]

reviewed 28 August 2014

2013 / DVD

23 × 45 min episodes

[DVD sleeve]
season 2 review
My name is Oliver Queen. After five years on a hellish island, I have come home with only one goal – to save my city. But to do so, I can’t be the killer I once was. To honor my friend’s memory, I must be someone else. I must be something else.

So, Oliver Queen sort of saved his city from Malcolm Merlin’s plot (apart from the big disaster that essentially was the plot), but totally failed to save his friend Tommy. Now that his raison d’être plot is over, what’s a Vigilante to do?

Well, he can reform (not be the killer he once was, that is, he was just last year), get a new name and a proper mask, and still go after bad guys to “save his city”. Save it from what precisely is not initially explicit, but soon enough a new Big Bad appears, and Oliver is now hampered in his fight by his new morality. And by the ever-increasing number of people who know his “secret” identity: a regular Scooby Gang’s worth.

The villain of the week, plus the arc, are again fun. People fight. People agonise over fighting and over putting their loved ones at risk (hint: keeping someone in the dark about Important Facts in order to Protect Them never works). People become super-strong psychopaths. Some people die. Other people stop being dead. Yet again, the best bits are the flashbacks to The Island, and what happened there to make Oliver Queen the recovering psychopath with superior archery skills he is today.

Rating: 3
[ unmissable | great stuff | worth watching | mind candy | waste of time | unfinishable ]

reviewed 8 March 2015

2014 / DVD

23 × 45 min episodes

[DVD sleeve]
season 3 review
My name is Oliver Queen. After five years in hell, I have come home with only one goal: to save my city. Now others have joined my crusade. To them I’m Oliver Queen. To the rest of Starling City, I am someone else. I am … something else.

The voiceover has changed from "five years on a hellish island" to "five years in hell", needed as we learn more about Oliver Queen's past. Everything gets very complicated, as having a villain of the week to save the city from is no longer enough. A long complex arc involving Malcolm Merlyn's time in the League of Assassins, Thea Queen's rapprochement with then repudiation of Merlyn, the impact of Sara's second death on Laurel and Quentin Lance, Oliver's own run-in with the League's leader, Ra's al Ghul, and his daughter Nyssa, and more, leads to a shattering climax. Just who has betrayed whom?

Oliver still needs to learn that deceiving his friends about Important Facts in order to Protect Them is not a good way to engender trust. Will any of them ever trust Oliver again?

Rating: 3.5
[ unmissable | great stuff | worth watching | mind candy | waste of time | unfinishable ]

reviewed 24 May 2016