Category Archives: smallville

Arrow S02 E06: "Keep Your Enemies Closer"

At last, we’re going to find out where Oliver got his Russian mob cred, and where he got that Bratva tattoo, as the crew takes a trip to Russia. Almost sounds like an “I Love Lucy” episode, doesn’t it? Just not as funny.

In our opening sequence, after some Lucy style secret identity shenanigans with Summer Glau’s Isabel Rochev, Arrow and his sidekick, um, snitch, um, sidekick, Roy Harper bust up some counterfeiters in short order. In the midst of it, and here’s where it gets good, Diggle gets kidnapped.

Diggle gets kidnapped by dudes namedropping Task Force X, the Suicide Squad’s official codename, and answering to Mockingbird, who gave orders to the Secret Six in the comics. When he comes to, he is confronted by, da da da dum, a very svelte looking Amanda Waller, played by Cynthia Addai-Robinson, who you might remember as Naevia from “Spartacus,” which also starred our Deathstroke, Manu Bennett.

Waller, who Diggle identifies as being with ARGUS, tells him that Lyla has vanished after following up some leads in Russia. Specifically Lyla was tracking Deadshot for Diggle. Waller, who also knows what Diggle and Oliver Queen do with their nights, wants Lyla extracted. So much for sightseeing in Russia, it sounds like it’s all business.

Back on flashback island, or more accurately, the Amazo boat, Professor Ivo interrogates Oliver with Sarah present. It seems that the island was where a Japanese World War II secret super soldier formula is, and Ivo’s looking for it. The formula, that gifts super strength and enhanced regeneration, is called Mirakuru – miracle.

Or is that Miraclo? With the recent announcement of an Hourman series possibly in development, I can’t help but wonder if The Flash isn’t the only back door pilot being prepped here… For those who don’t know your Golden Age comic lore, Miraclo is the drug that Hourman takes to gain super strength, super stamina, and yes, even regenerative abilities for one hour.

Dylan Neal’s dad next door portrayal of Anthony Ivo is extremely creepy when you think about this guy was up to in the comics, and what he’s probably up to here. There is just this very scary chord of quiet menace in his performance. Factoid: Neal played a character ironically linked to Amanda Waller back on the CW’s “Smallville.” And could the sadistic Captain of the Amazo… be the future Amazo??

Back in the present, Wendy and Marvin, ahem, I mean Isabel insists on tagging along to Russia with the Arrowcave trio. It’s like a sitcom setup almost, and infuriating. They have to avoid Isabel while trying to find Lyla and Deadshot. Let me tell you, this does not make Summer Glau any more likable or tolerable. She is even less likable drunk, and downright hatable as a one night stand.

We do get the goods on how Oliver is a Bratva captain. Anatoli Knyazev, known as the KGBeast in the comics, was his prison mate on the Amazo boat. Oliver saved his life, and was rewarded with tattoo and rank. Anatoli helps them find Lyla and Deadshot, beginning Diggle’s brief prison movie inside the show. In the end, everyone gets saved, but Diggle can’t kill Deadshot.

However Diggle does learn who hired Deadshot to kill his brother. In a reveal that may bring some loose ends full circle to a knot, Deadshot says he was hired by H.I.V.E. Not in the comics, but in the “Teen Titans” cartoon, the H.I.V.E. was run by a guy called Brother Blood. Da da dum.

On the subplot track, Jean Loring makes her third appearance as Moira Queen’s attorney. This is the first time however I was aware of her name. This is Jean Loring?? I was very surprised. Teryl Rothery is a beautiful but older woman, but based on the character’s previous mention (‘Ray and Jean’), I would have assumed she was younger, much younger, a contemporary, a peer, of Laurel and Oliver. Let’s just hope she’s not being paid in white dwarfs or black diamonds…

The Blood Rush mini-adventure starring Felicity and Roy, and sponsored by Bose, is dumb. There I said it. It’s out of continuity, confusing, and dumb. Just give the actors more screen time in the real show and give the audience a real Bose commercial. Otherwise, this is a waste of time.

Speaking of dumb and waste of time, it seems that Felicity is being groomed for the role of Oliver’s romantic interest, or worse than that, his fawning crush. She tells him he deserves better, regarding Isabel. I’d like to tell the producers that Felicity deserves better than this kind of crap. Come on. Make Felicity a strong female character on television, not another one of Oliver’s failed attempts at a relationship.


Next week: The return of (The) Count (and) Vertigo!

Arrow S02 E02: "Identity"

The winds of change from the last episode sweep in in the first seconds of this one, as Oliver Queen’s opening narrative has changed. No longer a killer, striving to be a hero, yet still unnamed, even without a name (Oliver swore off The Hood monicker last time), this is a change for the better.

Our secondary opening has Roy Harper, in his red hoodie, driving a red car (nice, but when’s he going to get a red costume and red arrows?), trying to save a FEMA truck from China White. He’s really not good at this vigilante stuff, Roy should get a… mentor, or something…

Laurel questions him once he gets hauled to the police station. She seems to have developed her father’s fixation on capturing The Hood, at all costs. She also scoffs at Roy’s mention of a certain Black Canary-like vigilante. If “Smallville” has taught us fanboys anything, it’s that the rules change in the jump from comics to TV. While I doubt it, there is a chance that Laurel Lance is not the Black Canary.

Maybe he’s not Brother Blood yet, as I posited last time, but Alderman Sebastian Blood, defender of The Glades, certainly is a thorn in Oliver’s side. Perhaps this will lead to our hero running for mayor as he did in the comics?

Green arrows, red arrows, black canaries, and brothers blood, that’s all good, but that’s not the big comics surprise in this episode. That would be the Bronze Tiger, played by Michael Jai White (“Black Dynamite” and Spawn). Here, he’s China White’s new partner, but in the comics, he was a member of the League of Assassins, and served in the Suicide Squad, ironically alongside Deadshot and Count Vertigo. More Wolverine than Bronze Tiger, he’s still bad ass.

There were many things I didn’t like. Laurel is annoying in hunter mode. If she is the Black Canary, I hope she’s not mining this personality. Thea is not making a believable grown-up, no matter how adult her dresses are. And I prefer Felicity as nerd girl rather than pretty whiner. Is she shopping at the same fashion designer as Thea?

There was a nice namedrop for writer Jeff Lemire this episode. I also loved the use of the first trick arrows – the electric arrow and the handcuff arrow. Can the Arrowcar and the boxing glove arrow be far behind? Next week, we get the resolution to our juicy cliffhanger, the Dollmaker, and the Canary uncaged…

Arrow: Sacrifice

Finally we’re at the season finale of “Arrow.” It’s been a long road, sometimes bumpy, sometimes kinda cool. We enter shortly after we last left our hero. Stephen Amell’s Oliver was unmasked and unconscious, and at the mercy of John Barrowman’s Malcolm Merlyn. Amell’s chest makes a welcome return as Barrowman plays Bond villain and gloats a bit before leaving our hero hanging chained and flashbacking.

After a pretty dynamic escape, wishy-washily aided by Diggle, Oliver jumps from character to character playing emotional catch up. There’s a real sense of finality to it all. Tommy to potential villain, Laurel to potential girlfriend, Quentin to potential ally, everything but Arrow to the rescue. There’s a nice bit while Felicity is taken in for questioning, and she channels “Smallville”‘s Chloe to Detective Lance, saying maybe The Hood is a hero.

As the gears begin to click together, it seems that Moira Queen is more of a hero than anyone else in the cast. She calls a press conference, revealing The Undertaking and naming Merlyn responsible. The problems? You can’t stop John Barrowman, and Thea goes to The Glades to get Roy. Meanwhile Oliver and Diggle go after Merlyn while Felicity and Quentin look for the Markov Device. Why do I get the feeling someone’s not making it out of this alive?

I have to say I was surprised who it was that wasn’t going to make it. I have to wonder if it was a last minute decision by the showrunners as well. In hindsight, it seems to be more tidying up than anything else. I liked Tommy a lot, and would have dug his young, hip, and vengeful Merlyn the Magician.

The one thing that really bothered me about this episode was the lack of resolution, both on the island, and in the present. While the thinking behind Merlyn’s redundancy plan is sound and logical, it’s very unsatisfying storywise. I don’t want to see the hero lose. Maybe that’s something they can work in next season…

Bates Motel

I’ve never been big on secret origins, except when they are shorter than a sentence or two or a minute or two. Just tell us what we need to know about the character or the situation and start the story. As a matter of fact, one writer rule states that you should always start in the middle of the story – beginnings are for suckers. Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 Psycho is a near perfect classic of the horror thriller genre, did we really need an ongoing prequel TV series? Why do we need A&E’s “Bates Motel”?

While it might not be the first to do such, I do blame “Smallville.” It’s the story of Superman, before he was Superman. If you’re a comics person, your first instinct is probably Superboy, and that’s really the problem with “Smallville.” All of the names are the same, but nothing else is. “Smallville” bears very little resemblance to Superboy. In the series, there is no Superboy, we see the looong journey of Clark Kent growing to manhood, and in the last moments of the last episode of the series, he finally becomes Superman. Over a decade later. Yeah, that long. And the whole time, all you really want from this show is to see him as Superman.

And that is why I hate secret origins, especially when they disguise themselves as ongoing TV series. I have to wonder, is that what “Bates Motel” will be like? Will we be waiting forever for our young protagonist Norman Bates to begin showing signs of the sociopath he is by the time the events of Psycho roll around? Will it take a decade?

The other obstacle (or perhaps it’s a good thing, for the new show at least) is the many folks who are watching who have no point of reference for Norman Bates. I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s a factor. After all, believe it or not, there were teenagers watching “Smallville” who didn’t get the Superman (or Superboy) references and thought it was just a cross between “The X-Files” and “Beverly Hills 90210.” Certainly that worked. Half the audience was there for the soap opera, and half for the pseudo-superhero stuff. Perhaps “Bates Motel” might just work as a show about a gawky kid with a overbearing mother who run a creepy motel, period.

“Bates Motel” is set present day, we begin with Norman’s dad dead, and Mom rushing them away to start over again, a habit she seems to have. The two are a little bit too close, and Vera Farmiga is just as overbearing as Norma Bates, as Freddie Highmore is creepy as young Norman. She’s a bit too pretty for my tastes, even as a young Norma Bates, but her paranoid craziness fills out the rest of her character well.

On their latest ‘start over,’ they buy an old motel foreclosed on by the bank. When a even creepier neighbor starts to harass them because the motel and property had been in his family for decades, well, things escalate. He breaks in, rapes Norma, and Norman saves her, after which Mom finishes the job, killing the attacker. Don’t call the police, we’ll cover this up ourselves is Norma’s battle cry. We kinda start to get the vibe maybe Dad’s death wasn’t quite what it seemed.

As creepy as the killer and the collaborator are, Nestor Carbonell is even scarier as Sheriff Alex Romero. If you locked me in a room with the three of them, he’s the one I’d be most scared of. There are some genuinely chilling moments here, as well as some “90120” caliber teenage soap moments. There’s also a cliffhanger that is very tempting to keep me watching, but I have to wonder, will this drag on forever and take a decade to get to the point, or will it surprise me. We’ll just have to wait and see.

For a different view, be sure to check out my friend and fellow writer Marie Gilbert‘s review over at Biff Bam Pop!.

The Following: Chapter Two

Okay, the hype is over, for the moment at least, and now “The Following” has to sink or swim as a series as opposed to an event. I had expressed in my review of the pilot that I didn’t think it had the legs to be a series. I guess this is where we find out. It has the bad potential to become a freak of the week show like early “Smallville” or “X-Files,” and I hope that’s not where we’re headed.

In the pilot, or rather the setup, multi-flawed FBI agent Hardy (Kevin Bacon) is pulled out of retirement to deal with the escaped serial killer Carroll (James Purefoy) that he had put away. He’s recaptured, but it turns out he’s built a cult of serial killers through social media, and they’ll do whatever he wants. This cult has kidnapped Carroll’s son to lure Hardy into a game of cat and mouse with the baddies.

Again written by creator Kevin Williamson, the subtext is very literate, and I am enjoying the writing theme and the Poe obsession. But I’m a writer. I wonder if other folks are digging this particular vibe or not. It works this way – Carroll was a writer, his crimes made Hardy a writer, and now this whole crazy game is built on the idea of a new book – one written by the followers in which Hardy and Carroll are the protagonist and antagonist.

Bacon and Purefoy continue to dominate the small screen whenever they are on it. Waste of an amazing cast, as I said last time. I just wish that the two of them would give us something edgier than the Clarice/Hannibal and/or Batman/Joker dynamic. I want more Shawn Ashmore, Billy Brown, and especially Li Jun Li.

Much of the episode is taken up by the good guys playing catch up to Carroll’s cultish followers and their shenanigans. I smell the stink of “Alcatraz,” “Revolution,” and “Flash Forward” on this one, as if we’re being played with like a fish on a hook. All we want is the confrontation(s) between Bacon and Purefoy, and the boy found, but you know we’ll only get dribs and drabs, while each episode has its own little underling serial killer story. Just give us what we want.

I honestly don’t know if I’ll be around next time. I think I can see the future, and I’m not sure it has enough fuel to entice me further. We’ll see.

Arrow: Trust But Verify

I have to say, I am starting to like the episode titles with dual meanings. They never quite mean what we think they mean, and revelation doesn’t come until the very end. Nice.

Weird. This is the first episode where Oliver and Tommy actually act like they are, or once were, best friends. It was nice. I guess the employer/employee dynamic suits them.

The plot of the week has armored truck robbers using tactics from the Afghan War. Turns out the guy behind it is not only Diggle’s old mentor, but he’s also on ‘the list.’ Diggle didn’t know that last part. I was surprised. I thought Oliver trusted Diggle. It’s been quite a while now – you mean in all that time Diggle’s never seen ‘the list’? I find that implausible.

Nice shout out for the Arrowcave, and also an interesting name for the baddies’ security firm – Blackhawk. The Arrowcave is a call back to the Golden Age and Silver Age of comics where Green Arrow was simply a Robin Hood knock-off of Batman, essentially Batman with a bow. He was a millionaire with a ward sidekick, he had the Arrowplane (which doubled as the Arrowcar), and of course, his headquarters was the Arrowcave – honestly not much different from his current basement below the nightclub.

The Blackhawks were an international team of pilots during World War II who fought against the Axis under the command of the man called Blackhawk. Later they became soldiers of fortune, adventurers, superheroes, and mercenaries. I love the Blackhawks, you can read more about that, and them here. However, on “Arrow,” the Blackhawks are just armored truck robbers. Sigh. These are bad days for the name Blackhawk.

Speaking of DC Comics characters, it’s always nice to see Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak, and sad to see she’s become a nerd girl with glasses and a crush on our hero. What a waste. So much potential, so little effort.

I’m starting to zone out on the soap opera aspects of the show. I don’t care about Thea worrying Mom is having an affair, or if Tommy makes up with Daddy Merlyn. This kind of crap is why I stayed away from “Smallville” for so long. I don’t know about you folks, but I watch superhero shows for the superheroes, not the soap.

The episode ends in disappointment, and a tempting cliffhanger. Where last time Oliver needed to do something and was robbed if his chance, this time it’s Diggle’s turn. Two weeks in a row of this and I’m about to throw in the towel. The cliffhanger keeps me though. Not only is Yao Fei not who we thought he was, but there’s a drug in The Glades called Vertigo… could it be…? Finally Count Vertigo?

Arrow: Year’s End

In many areas this episode was pre-empted or rescheduled because of the 12-12-12 Benefit Concert for the victims of Hurricane Sandy. I have no complaints about that, it’s a noble and just cause, and being right in the center of the devastation, I know how bad it was. My nit is with local CW affiliate channel 57 – it might have been nice to let viewers know what was up with your regular programming, that’s all, just a bit of courtesy. For the record, this episode of “Arrow” airs tomorrow night at eight.

Now on to “Year’s End,” the mid-season finale of “Arrow,” which I hoped was good because the Huntress two-parter was very lacking. I was at first surprised and excited by this show only to be let down by those last two episodes. Although, from ‘previously on “Arrow”‘ clips, this -could- be good.

We open on a member of The List, a Brian Michael Bendis lookalike (Marc Guggenheim?), being murdered by a shadowy someone who looks suspiciously like Oliver. The tool? Black arrows. Not green. Only one DC Comics character in the Green Arrow mythos uses black arrows. That’s Merlyn the Magician AKA Arthur King or as reimagined here on “Arrow,” Tommy and/or Malcolm Merlyn. On “Smallville,” he was called alternately Vortigan, and the Dark Archer. He is (or will be) played by either John Barrowman or Colin Donnell. Finally. Just wait.

In the first ten minutes, in quick, almost HBO style plot succession we get some wonderful interaction with Diggle and Oliver, a return to the island flashbacks, and at a Queen family dinner party, John Barrowman as Malcolm Merlyn names the vigilante “Green Arrow.” Yeah. Squeee. It seems this special Christmas episode might just be a gift for the viewers.

Things I like include that Arrow, ahem, Green Arrow is beginning a tenuous relationship with the police, or at least Quentin Lance; and that Felicity Smoak is turning into Oracle/Chloe. At this point, it’s a cliche character, but nerd girl Emily Bett Rickards is just so likable. Moreso than Laurel, and definite more than the cardboard Huntress. I also liked the shout out to Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams, the comics creators who revitalized Green Arrow in the late 1960s.

The island flashbacks bring much revelation. Yao Fei and the still unnamed Deathstroke were the only two survivors of a prison that was the island. There’s even a quick rematch between the two. All fun stuff, but seriously, why does Oliver still have the top button of his shirt buttoned?? Maybe that’s why he’s always walking around shirtless since he got back to civilization.

As with most confrontations on “Arrow,” and for that matter, the aforementioned “Smallville” (I seem to remember this being the case with both Doomsday and Darkseid), that don’t last long. Such is the case with Oliver (even though I’ve done it, it still doesn’t feel right to say Green Arrow) and the unnamed Dark Archer. For the latter, he’s called the copycat more than anything else. It’s a brief fight that ends with Oliver on the short end of the arrow, literally, and his foe escaping. More than unsatisfying.

Oliver defeated and the Other Archer on the loose (but finally revealed), that’s the note this episode ends with. Malcolm Merlyn has a master plan for Starling City that doesn’t look good, and has abducted Walter to keep Moira in line. None of this looks good. A bit of a downer, but an excellent episode. Can’t wait ’til after the New Year.

Arrow: Lone Gunmen

The third episode of “Arrow” begins with a bang, the bang of assassin Deadshot getting to one of Arrow’s targets before him. Deadshot is of course not in costume, except for his trademark eye scope. Instead he is given the rather creepy motif of tattooing his victims’ names into his body. Creepy. And limiting. Eventually you will run out of space, and places you can reach easily with a tattoo needle.

The geek in me loved the shoutouts to Corto Maltese, Markovia, and especially Big Belly Burger – nice, it’s like the little touches they used to have in the “Flash” TV series two decades ago. Speaking of interesting drop-ins, seeing Felicity Smoak from the old Firestorm comics was out of left field, but good to see her, and good to know the writers are geeks like us. I guess if we can’t have Oracle or Chloe, Felicity is an excellent sub.

An annoyance point – much like The Blur over in “Smallville,” what is this resistance to calling our protagonists by their correct names? It’s bad enough the show is called “Arrow” but now the police are calling him ‘The Hood.’ Is the jump really that hard to call the guy in green using green arrows… Green Arrow? The name has worked for over seventy-five years through several different incarnations.

Stephen Amell’s chest continues its starring role in the series, and I loved him climbing the building to find bullets. Also continuing are our subplots, some starting to get stale like Laurel’s wishy-washiness and Thea’s partying, some heating up like the island flashbacks and Diggle’s discovery of course. I have to wonder, could the island be the site of some sort of ‘most dangerous game’?

I don’t want a Commissioner Gordon dynamic, or cliche, but I love the begrudging trust Detective Lance is starting to have in Arrow. It was also cool to see Laurel show off some mad fighting skilz. If only we could get some small canary or bird reference… I am still digging Diggle but can’t seem to find any warmth for Moira or Walter, maybe because they don’t deserve any.

Something to think about for the hardcore geeks – could that Davis name on Arrow’s list be old Green Arrow foe Doctor Davis?

Arrow: Honor Thy Father

The initial excitement is over. Last time I was just thrilled that the show was as good as it was. I was expecting a train wreck. This week, I have questions, and observations.

Before seeing the show, and basing my opinions on just the previews, it seemed to me that Oliver Queen was a killer at least, and a serial killer at worse. From the opening of “Honor Thy Father,” my fears may have been true. Ever get shot through the chest with an arrow? I haven’t, but an easy guess says it’s a kill shot. There’s a couple on this rooftop. I also wonder if Oliver retrieves his arrows? How hard could it be for police to track down a guy buying lots of arrows in the city recently? Detective Lance already has several in his possession, what’s the hold up?

As far as the serial killer angle, there is ritual, there is method, I can’t help but wonder if Oliver is taking trophies. Was he disturbed a along or did Dad’s suicide in front of him push him over the edge? Was it the island, or something that happened on the island? Did Deathstroke teach him to be a killer? Yeah, I went there. We all saw his mask in the first episode.

And then there’s the problem with motivation. Sure, I understand trying to right his father’s wrongs, but didn’t Dad blow his brains out in front of him? That is an act of both cowardice and spiteful revenge. Obviously Dad didn’t think much of Oliver to do that to me, so why is he trying to clean up Dad’s mess for him? Something is just not clicking for me there.

Stephen Amell’s scarred and tattooed body continues to be the star of the show. That’s just based on the opinions of the straight women and gay men I know who are watching. And also by the serious amount of screen time Amell’s bare torso gets. I’m also starting to warm to him as an actor. Amell is almost a likable and talented Matt Damon. He’s no Justin Hartley, but really, who is?

I am continuing to enjoy the comics creator name drops in the scripts. Last week we had Judge Grell and Oliver’s bodyguard Diggle, and this week we’re introduced to one of Laurel’s clients, a Miss Nocenti. For the record, Ann Nocenti is the current writer on DC Comics’ Green Arrow ongoing title.

And I’m still loving Oliver’s Batman-like disappearing act he keeps pulling on Diggle. And yeah, I am digging David Ramsey’s Diggle. Good to finally see him in action this episode. Another thing I like is Oliver’s internal dialogue. It’s a comic book device which is fitting, but it’s also pretty unique in the world of television. Nice. More, please.

Arrow’s tagline of “You have failed this city.” will get old quickly, and is already starting to in the second episode. The plot point that follows the line could get old real quick as well, much like the meteor freak of the week on “Smallville.” I hope Dad’s list of names is a short one.

This episode introduces Kelly Hu as China White from the comics. China White is the first villainess Green Arrow ever encounters, as she is running heroin from the island where Queen was shipwrecked. Here she’s a Chinese Triad assassin, and a formidable adversary. The fight between her and Arrow is awesome.

I am also warming to Katie Cassidy as Laurel even though she’s no Black Canary (or would that be just Canary?) yet, and Paul Blackthorne as her dad. His blame game act could get old quickly too though. But I am starting to like them both. And I am waiting patiently to see what turns Colin Donnell’s Tommy Merlyn into Merlyn the Magician.

Okay, two episodes in and I’m hooked. Despite questions, fears, and reservations, I want more and can’t wait ’til next week. Rumor is, next time, we get Deadshot. And speaking of villains from the comics, based on the symbol on Dad’s notebook, could the mystery character John Barrowman will be playing be… Count Vertigo?

The Arrow Pilot

The norm used to be for bringing a comic book to the small screen would be to change everything. Everyone fondly remembers “The Incredible Hulk” TV series with Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno. You know the one without Rick Jones, Betty Ross, Glenn Talbot, General Ross, Gamma Base, or any Gamma Bombs. When you think about it, the show was more “The Fugitive” than the Hulk.

This was standard operating procedure though. The Justice League became the Super Friends. Bat-Mite turned green. Remember Rex Smith as the Daredevil in black who wore a mask with no eyeholes? How about the Cathy Lee Crosby Wonder Woman?

Even the wildly successful “Smallville” changed many aspects of its source material. The joke used to be that “Smallville” had some names and concepts in common with old Superboy comics but everything else was different. In later seasons of the series one of the highlights was Green Arrow as played by Justin Hartley. The character proved so popular that the CW decided to give him his own similar “Smallville” themed series. The catch – it’s not a spin-off, it’s not Justin Hartley, and it’s very different from both the source material and even “Smallville.”

In “Arrow,” despite Oliver Queen’s outfit, car, and arrows being green, he’s not Green Arrow, he’s Arrow. The city he protects is Starling City, not Star City. And previews make him out to be more of a murderous vigilante than a superhero. Before viewing the pilot, friends had told me it was great, so I was willing to give it a shot, changes or not.

It’s not that I don’t love and miss Justin Hartley, but this is a different take on the character, and Stephen Amell slips seamlessly into this new Oliver Queen rule. Despite my misgivings, I was pulled into the “Arrow” pilot immediately, and not just by the Deathstroke mask on the beach. “Arrow” is a solid TV show with or without its comic book superhero origins. And it’s an adult show, this is not going to be the teen soap opera that “Smallville” was the first few years.

A more complicated backstory and motivation is overlaid to Green Arrow’s comics origin, and it works for 2012 television. I like it. Oh sure, there’s great wink-wink stuff like his drug-using sister being nicknamed Speedy, the complicated relationship with Dinah Laurel Lance (Black Canary in the comics), and of course there is the prerequisite best friend who becomes arch-villain, Tommy Merlyn AKA Merlyn the Magician – but I would dig “Arrow” even without all that.

A warning for the kids, and the folks with kids, this is a pretty violent show. So don’t be fooled just because it’s based on a comic book, this is not for the younguns. That said, I’m looking forward to more “Arrow,” and I hope you all are as well. I was refreshingly surprised.