Binge Guide: Arrow

By Nicole Fiorica

At a glance:
Genre: Action
Seasons/Episodes : 3/69
Avg Episode Length: 42 minutes
Available on: Netflix

What it’s about:
Based on the DC Comics character Green Arrow, the CW’s “Arrow” is about Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell), a playboy billionaire presumed dead after his yacht capsized five years ago. However, it turns out he was actually stranded on an island and he picked up some neat tricks along the way. Now returned to his home in Starling City, a much-changed Oliver assumes the persona as a vigilante in order to take out the people he believes to be ruining his city.

Why it’s so good:
It certainly helps to be a fan of the superhero genre before tuning into “Arrow,” as the show introduces a lot of DC characters such as the Black Canary, Arsenal and Deathstroke, dropping hints along the way so comic fans can predict who’s who. At the same time, the show is incredibly welcoming to new fans and provides a part-action adventure and part mystery aspect, as flashback scenes slowly uncover what happened to Oliver during those five years he was presumed dead. “Arrow” has also led to spinoffs like “The Flash” and the upcoming “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” so viewers with any interest in those shows might enjoy starting at the beginning.

Why you should binge it:
While “Arrow” initially lays the groundwork for a “villain of the week” episode format, with Oliver seeking retribution from one criminal at a time, the plot of the show picks up midway through the show’s first season, and it quickly becomes hard to stop watching. In the grand scheme of things, three seasons isn’t all that much, so watching the show quickly will set you right on pace to tune into the fourth season, which starts this week on the CW.

Stephen Amell does a great job carrying the show, and it’s a lot of fun to watch him grow as an actor, even over just a few seasons. Newcomers to the series should definitely keep an eye out for IT girl Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards), a guest star who quickly becomes a trusted ally of Oliver’s, and is eventually promoted to a series regular in season two. Fans of “Teen Wolf” will also recognize Colton Haynes as Roy Harper, an initial love interest to Oliver’s sister in season one who will eventually join Team Arrow as well. Lastly, the vastly underrated Detective Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne) is a fascinating and brilliantly-played contrast to Oliver, who pushes him more than anyone to examine his conscience as his vigilante exploits begin to escalate.

Potential Pitfalls:
Naturally when the CW picks up a superhero show, you can expect things to get a little bit campy. Very few characters that die actually stay dead — with several exceptions I obviously can’t specify outright — so you can predict a certain amount of eye-rolling in the show’s later seasons. At the same time, the show can be super dark and a little depressing — leading to jokes in the lighthearted spinoff “The Flash” about how the team at Starling City never seems to have any fun, although producers have alluded to happier things for Season Four.