Fall TV First Impression: Is Arrow on Target?

The broadcast networks have more than 20 shows debuting this fall, including a Revolution-ary drama from J.J. Abrams and Eric Kripke, a Nashville home for Connie Britton and a new comedy from Friends‘ Matthew Perry. To help you prep for it all, TVLine is offering First Impressions based on the not-for-review pilots.

Next up on our list….

THE SHOW | The CW’s Arrow (Wednesdays, 8/7c)

THE COMPETITION | The X Factor (Fox), Survivor (CBS), The Middle/Suburgatory (ABC) and Animal Practice (new)/Guys With Kids (new) (NBC)

THE CAST | Stephen Amell (Private Practice), Katie Cassidy (Melrose Place), Susanna Thompson (Once & Again), Paul Blackthorne (The Dresden Files), Willa Holland (The O.C.) and others

RELATED | Fall Preview: TVLine’s Snapshot Guide to All the New Shows

THE SET-UP | In this new small-screen take on DC Comics’ Green Arrow character, Amell stars as Oliver Queen, a billionaire playboy who, after being presumed dead with his father in a shipwreck, is rescued from a five-year island isolation and returns a changed man. Though he presents the same “cavalier cad” public persona to those back home in the increasingly derelict Star Starling City, Oliver in private develops the alter ego of Green Arrow, a hooded, bow-toting vigilante who has an Emily Thorne-like list of ne’er-do-wells to exact revenge upon. Thompson and Holland play Ollie’s mother Moira and sis Thea/”Speedy,” while Cassidy and Blackthorne are old flame Dinah Laurel Lance and her police detective dad Quentin.

RELATED | Fall Preview: TVLine’s Grid Showing What’s On When and Versus What!

THE FIRST IMPRESSION | Arrow marks the second time, Nikita included, that The CW has successfully delivered on a gritty, action-packed drama. Purposely bearing no association with the character’s Smallville incarnation, this riff on Oliver Queen impressively sets up his backstory through a series of intense flashbacks (guest-starring Jamey Sheridan as family patriarch Robert), then thrusts him back into civilization with a literal vengeance. The combat sequences, as Arrow sets sight on his first order of business, are thrilling, while Oliver’s at-home interactions with his mother and sister (each who has a few secrets of her own) and scorned ex Laurel are prickly and never within 100 miles of treacly. Among the performances, Amell brings the right amount of moxie (and muscle) to his dual roles, Thompson promises to be one tough mother and Cassidy has found her best CW role to date, as a buttoned-up legal aide (for the — clever acronym alert! — City Necessary Resources Initiative) who isn’t about to roll over for her back-from-the-dead beau; it should be great fun watching the two of them grapple with keeping at arm’s length.
    Among my concerns, Oliver’s hard-partying, hottie-ogling BFF Tommy (played by Colin Donnell) seems imported from a John Hughes movie and thus is an ill fit with this otherwise dark-ish drama, while it is my hope that Blackthorne and David Ramsey (playing Ollie’s seemingly savvy bodyguard, John Diggle) are afforded plenty to do besides Being Unaware of the Hooded Guy’s True Identity.

RELATED | Fall TV First Impression: Shawn Ryan’s Last Resort Makes a Splash

THE TVLINE BOTTOM LINE Interest in Arrow is high, at least among TVLine readers who in this admittedly unscientific poll are giving it the edge Wednesdays at 8. If X Factor fails to convert on its Britney factor and Survivor (entering its 25th cycle!) continues to wane, there is a chance here to target those with little interest in any of the four sitcoms in play (two of which are unproven).

Watch a video preview for Arrow, then vote in our poll below.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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61 Comments
  1. Jacob says:

    As long as they don’t “CW” the crap out of this show with unnecessary music cues from “hip” artists, or focus far too much on love triangles, I’m in. Sounds pretty great.

  2. Captain says:

    One of the shows I’m most looking forward to. I adore Katie Cassidy and hope this is a great role for her (although I’m hesitant on whether it can top her roles on Melrose Place and Gossip Girl).

    • Velvet says:

      I prefer Katie Cassidy as Ruby on Supernatural. I didn’t watch any of those lame shows like GG & MP.

      • jules says:

        well, I don’t know anything about Melrose Place, but Gossip Girl wasn’t half bad when I gave it a shot… But Supernatural has always benn and will always be my favorite tv show and Katie as Ruby was the best (much better than the latter one, if you ask me). So I’m looking forward to Katie’s new role in Arrow.

  3. Clay says:

    I think Arrow has a good chance of succeeding. It’s in a good timeslot where the competition isn’t as tough. X Factor and Survivor aren’t the ratings juggernauts they were intended to be.

  4. godzilla's foil says:

    Yes to this. On the other hand… why would anyone watch Britney Spears doing anything??

  5. She was fantastic in Supernatural.
    Jury is still out on this as I was a big Hartley fan, but he’s given his blessing, and the promo is enought to get me curious.

  6. Josh says:

    My two issues:
    1. Ammell seemed horrible in the previews(though Matt makes him seem better)
    2. I hate that Black Canary is being rebooted into a “spitfire ex-girlfriend road”. She’s as much a hero(if not more) then Green Arrow.

    • Emily says:

      I do like Katie Cassidy, though. She tends to do well even when with a lackluster show/cast, I think she might make something out of it. I’ve also liked Paul Blackthorne ever since he went off the rails in 24.

      • ChrisGa says:

        Katie Cassidy is almost without fail the best thing about whatever show she’s in at the time(Melrose, Gossip Girl, even the film Monte Carlo!) although at least this time she’s surrounded by a cast that is pretty damn good(so happy to see the great Susanna Thompson back on my screen).

    • ZmaX says:

      I’m sure that over the course of the series she will develop into a hero, taking on the persona of Black Canary and working with Green Arrow. I’m sure she will be a fan favorite with great character development. Maybe finding out that her mother had been a hero back in the day will push her to become the Black Canary now, which will probably conflict with her Father’s views. Katie Cassidy is gonna do the role justice.

    • Alan says:

      look at the acronym that matt very kindly points out, if thats not a hint of whats to come for her then it would be just a pointless shout out to the comics which would go over about 95% of viewers heads.
      also amell seems like a good choice to me, he reminds me a little of jermey renner which is about right to me considering the tone they are taking with this

    • zath says:

      CNRI

      does that sound familiar @Josh?

      Yes we all want and cant wait for her to be Black Canary but this is a Green Arrow show, he has got to be the hero first, if the roles were reversed and it was a canary show I would want green Arrow a bit later on. Besides it would be interesting to see how she is developed to become Black Canary as the show is going on, instead of flashbacks.

  7. Maggie says:

    I love Colin Donnell (saw him in Anything Goes on Broadway last season w/ Sutton Foster from Bunheads & he was fabulous), but I’m with Matt on this one, his “look” just sticks out among the darker characters.

    • zath says:

      Good then he should be a some good contrast to other charaters and maybe some much needed relief to the show. His character, Tommy Meryln is probably going to develop into the darkest character in the show once the season starts rolling.

  8. Velvet says:

    I look forward to watching Paul Blackthorne.

  9. Renee says:

    This is my #1 most anticipated new show. Can’t wait. I love action.

  10. Deb says:

    This one surprised me. I wasn’t expecting to like it (admittedly mostly based on my dislike of Smallville), but it has a great story, some pretty good acting and interesting characters. If they get rid of the incessant voiceover in subsequent episodes, then I’m definitely on board.

  11. Summer says:

    Katie Cassidy is playing my absolute favourite comic book character.

    Of course I’m checking it out.

  12. Melody Paris says:

    This show and Elementary are the two fall dramas I’m most looking forward too. The fact that it is paired with Supernatural is just all the better.

  13. Christy says:

    I loved it! I thought it was a perfect mix of dark but still CW-ish. I love the casting. My husband and both I agreed that it was a lot stronger than we were expecting, heh. I think it’s a perfect show to pair with Supernatural.

  14. Ryan says:

    Paul Blackthorne is great. I hope he has plenty of screen time. Katie Cassidy was cool on Supernatural, but I haven’t seen her on any show since.

  15. Templar says:

    Yawn. Another rehash of an old story. Where’s the new?

    • Alan says:

      a rehash of what? the only time we’ve seen a live action green arrow is in smallville, and that show skewed the character big time to fit in with their world, this is a completely different take on the characters. i fail to see the rehash you are talking about. how about you have an open mind and not make a judgement until you have actually seen the show in question.

      • Templar says:

        The character has been around since 1941, died, been resurrected etc. NOT NEW! Rehash.

        • Alan says:

          that is one medium, this is a different medium, and have you read the synopsis its very different to any green arrow ive heard of. ollie never had a sister in the comics and both his parents are dead as well, not to mention this is the first time ive ever heard of black canary having a father who is a cop. enough has been changed for me to be interested in how this version will work

          • hammard says:

            Dinah Laurel Lance did have a detective father in the comics (although he was called Larry not Quentin). He often used to take her on cases, much to the annoyance of her mother (the first Black Canary), but dies during a fight with Aquarius.

        • zath says:

          Quit whining, they are people out there, millions in fact who don’t know these comic characters and their stories. They are just waiting to be reached. TV is free, “comics” are not and live action is so much much more fascinating than reading. Yes the stories are new in this media and long time comic fans have been waiting for something like this.

  16. Aleana says:

    I’ll watch it looks good I wonder will his sister become a hero too since it looks like she going to have few secrets

  17. Margo says:

    It looks like it could be a good show. I just LOVE Justin Hartley as Oliver Queen…how can you beat that?

  18. MaxxFisher says:

    They can’t bring on Deathstroke soon enought for me

  19. Gerald says:

    Matt, are you going to give your impressions of the midseason shows? I really want to know what you thought of Red Widow, Mistresses, Do No Harm and Notorious. I know most of them look bad but I liked the stories and willing to give them a chance.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      Midseason shows are not a priority, no. Besides, so, so, so much could change about them by the time they actually see the light of day. In fact, that’s why I’m in no rush to preview ANIMAL PRACTICE, a fall show which recast its female lead. It’d be like watching the Mets field 6 guys called up for the day from AA.

  20. RLS says:

    Katie Cassidy is a star. I’ll watch

  21. Elle93 says:

    No Justin Hartley = no chance of me watching this.

    • zath says:

      Haha ha, You will watch, some who were saying that are already backtracking now. In any case why even keep saying it at all. A very uninterested person wouldn’t have time to stop by and comment.

  22. I’m looking forward to this show more and more. A dark, thrilling action show about a superhero who kicks some serious ass = right up my alley. Maybe it’s ripping off The Dark Knight, but that’s one of my favorite films ever, so I don’t particularly care. On a shallow note, Stephen Amell is stunningly hot – but more importantly, he has the rugged looks and chiseled physique to believably pull off an action hero. I think they made the right decision in casting him over Justin Hartley, in every aspect.

  23. confused says:

    ok for those feeling particularly spaced out today… why is CNRI clever?

  24. Sareeta says:

    It may sound shallow, but my main reason for watching is the trailer featuring the actor doing a pretty hot workout. Also, this type of gritty, dark show is just what I’m looking for. Nikita is my favorite CW show, possibly one of my favorite shows period, and this seems like it is in a similar vein. While I can see why it is being paired with Supernatural, I think it would pair well with Nikita and maybe help the ratings.

  25. Robbin says:

    John Barrowman ! I will watch because John has been added to the cast.

  26. wrstlgirl says:

    I’ve seen & read some interviews with Steve Amell and to me he comes across as very arrogant which is a huge turn off for me but I don’t know the guy so I could be way off base (cue the attack dogs). I’m still going to watch Arrow and give it a chance. I like the premise.

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