I can’t deny that I was ecstatic about all the sneak peeks and trailers coming out of San Diego Comic-Con. From and to TV’s and , there was certainly no shortage of new stuff to speculate about. There was also a trailer released for Arrow but, unfortunately, it didn’t have the same effect as the others.
Watch Arrow‘s Comic-Con trailer:
Pretty slow compared to The Flash trailer, right? Arrow has been criticized for its direction over the previous two seasons and, judging from the trailer, it seems that all of those problems are still there. It lacked what made the other previews so enjoyable, but more importantly it highlights how there is still room for improvement on Arrow. Let’s take a look at the problems that are highlighted in the trailer.
The Age Old Felicity Dilemma
I like Felicity, I really do — when she was first introduced on Arrow I thought she was brilliant and reminded me somewhat of Smallville‘s Chloe Sullivan. I was overjoyed when Emily Bett Rickards was made a regular and for years . Here’s the problem: When the pair actually got together the show not only went downhill, but somewhere along the line, Felicity became the main character. The reason Felicity worked so well at the beginning of the series was because of her humorous personality and the support that she provided Oliver with molded him into a better hero. Unfortunately when Felicity became a regular character complete story arcs were formed around the idea of “What would Felicity do?” This is one of Arrow‘s primary problems.
Fan’s often blame Felicity’s presence on the show for the decline in Arrow‘s quality, but the truth is that it’s not Felicity’s fault — it’s how Felicity appears to control every situation and become the leader of the group. This has been a problem for several seasons now and unfortunately the trailer highlights that this will seemingly continue. We also see that Oliver assembles a new team simply because “Felicity thinks” it’s a good idea — why does Oliver put so much emphasis on what Felicity thinks about the team?
He was able to handle crimefighting on his own before Team Arrow assembled, not to mention surviving five years on an island without her guidance — Oliver knows a lot more about this line of work than Felicity. Felicity has too much say in the events of the show and ultimately that is what is leading to some of the more questionable storylines on Arrow.
Questionable Creative Decisions
Everybody knows that Arrow killing off Laurel Lance was a bad idea. The show received a — mainly from comic book fans. It also didn’t help that this decision meant that Green Arrow and Black Canary couldn’t be together, adding more fuel to the idea that the writers are trying to push “Olicity” as the endgame.
After months of fan support and petitions, the Arrow creative team have stated that they do not plan on bringing back Laurel. However, at Comic-Con it was announced that , playing Laurel in flashbacks and . This decision suggests that the writers are attempting to compensate for this questionable creative decision due to the negative reception it received. However, they continue to deny that Cassidy will return as Earth-1 Laurel, stating that she will remain dead. The show never quite recovered from this controversial decision, and to be honest, I don’t know if it ever will.
A lot of fans were happy when Diggle and Thea left Team Arrow at the end of the fourth season, as Arrow now had the opportunity to relaunch with new storylines. Arrow was at its best during the first two seasons when the tone was much darker and Oliver did the crime fighting on his own. Unfortunately during the third and fourth seasons, the show fell into a bit of repetitive trap, showcasing the same choreographed fight sequences every week with the entirety of Team Arrow fighting the bad guys.
Removing Diggle and Thea from the picture meant that Oliver had the opportunity to fight crime on his own and finally build up that comic book reputation as the Emerald Archer. Unfortunately, the trailer highlights that the show has fallen back into the same mold as Oliver goes straight into assembling a new Team Arrow. The repetition of the same storyline eliminates the possibility of new threads being pursued, as well as introducing even more characters into the show, meaning that Oliver will have even less screen time than he does at the moment.
Moreover, the introduction of another vigilante with but, judging from the trailer, he will be unable to fulfill his potential. Like the Black Canary before him, he will become just another one of Oliver’s many sidekicks.
Oliver has always done what he thought was best and he can often be quite bullish once he sets his mind to something. Remember the way he tended to shoot Barry down if he suggested an alternate plan? Oliver does have a little bit of a self-important nature — but that’s just who Oliver Queen is. However, in the trailer — and over the past season — Oliver allows Felicity to point him in the right direction. Furthermore, the Oliver of the first season would’ve never allowed a character like Evelyn Sharp — a criminal who ruined his dead best friend’s reputation — join his team and learn his secret identity just because Felicity told him to.
Similarly, Felicity herself has undergone a character transplant — remember at the beginning of Arrow she was somewhat clumsy and always muddled her words? Now she is overly confident, rarely funny and extremely controlling.
As much as people love to blame Felicity, the main reason that Arrow has seen a decline in standard is due to it’s lack of superhero action. The past two seasons have opted for more emotional drama, which is great, but in Arrow‘s case there are too many lover’s arguments and parental reveals — it often feels like you’re watching a soap opera made with comic book characters.
The trailer relies heavily on conversational scenes and shows very little action at all. Furthermore, Oliver is going to have to train his new team of vigilantes which leave less room for actual crimefighting.
The Brighter Tone
The CW once had a reputation for targeting a young adult audience — shows like The Vampire Diaries, The Carrie Diaries and Gossip Girl all featured relationship heavy plots and soap opera elements. When Arrow came along, the game changed for The CW and suddenly they were broadcasting a darker— almost Daredevil-like — show. However, when The Flash — which has much more of a brighter, kid-friendly tone — came along, Arrow seemed to adopt the same colorful world and it hasn’t recovered since. Unfortunately the trailer highlights that Arrow has not returned to its darker roots, remaining with the much friendlier CW-esque vibe that it’s had for the past two seasons.
The best part of this trailer is arguably the last scene which is almost threatening and a lot darker than the rest of the trailer. Hopefully, with some emphasis on this new Big Bad, Arrow can reclaim some of its darker tone. It’s funny when you think about it, even the villains as of late — like Damien Darhk and Ras Al Ghul — have seemed somewhat friendlier than Deathstroke and The Dark Archer.
Perhaps these observations are premature, maybe . However, what we know is that Arrow has been plagued with criticism for several years now and, judging from the trailer, the series will not be returning to its earlier prime any time soon.
What do you hope to see in the fifth season of Arrow? Tell me in the comment section below.