Arrow Season 2: Superhero Saturation Point

I make no excuses for liking season one of Arrow. It’s was such an enjoyable show. It had a little something for everyone interested. All of the comic book fans could enjoy appearances by some DC Comics luminaries, while casual television fans still had plenty to enjoy. Stephen Amell absolutely carried the show throughout the first year. The entire show was geared around his performance, and he didn’t disappoint. Entertaining side characters popped up along the way, but this was Amell’s vehicle, and he was making the most of it. With the CW’s reputation for overwhelming teenage angst, Arrow represented a potential sea change in how the network’s programming should be viewed (that potential was rather short-lived). It wasn’t a superhero show. It was a television show about death, rebirth, and the impact of our choices framed inside of this superhero world. o this point, season two has been something far different.

What we’ve seen in the second season of Arrow is bordering on superhero porn. Where we once watched Oliver Queen struggle to return to Starling City, now we watch the Green Arrow and the Black Canary trade weapons in a fight against armed gangsters. It’s not bad television. It just underscores the show’s changing ideals. Season one was not a superhero show. It was about a man struggling with his past, and the man he became as a result of it. Season two of Arrow hasn’t come close to matching the “mass” appeal of season one. Now, it’s a full-on assault on the senses of the comic book superhero fans everywhere.

I recall this starting at Comic-Con. The executive producers of the show sat on a panel and name-dropped and hinted about the arrival of various Arrow comic characters to be introduced in season two. To absolutely no one’s surprise, all of these announcements were greeted with wild cheers and screaming from the pro-comics crowd. I’m very happy those people are getting the show they want, but I want to know what happened to the show I liked to watch. Amell was far more dynamic and interesting with his season one performance. Here, he’s being asked to look good in a suit and kick ass in what has to be pretty suffocating attire. Once again, it’s not bad television. The show is exciting. It has plenty of cool spots and snappy dialogue from the Arrow troika. It just use to be more than that. When the biggest emotional wallop of the season is Katie Cassidy overselling Laurel’s dissent into addiction, that’s a problem.

It is important to remember that we are very early in the season. Still, the reveal of Alderman Blood making super soldiers in a basement while wearing a rejected mask from the set of Spartacus doesn’t exactly engender a lot of confidence. I’m willing to wait, and I certainly won’t stop watching, but I want my Arrow back. The Arrow that truly had something for everyone. I shouldn’t have to do homework in order to get excited for a television show. I’m glad the comic book guys can have their fun. I just want to see some more stuff for the casual fans too.