TV: OPINION-How to Win Back the 'ARROW' Audience in Season 5

– by Mark Cook
Arrow

Production for Arrow: Season 5 recently began with the series returning to the CW on Wednesday, October 5th at 8 pm.  Many individuals, including myself, were disappointed with the Season 4 Finale, let alone the entirety of Season 4.  I have always tried to find the best in Arrow, and have continuously watched the series trying to give it the benefit of the doubt.  At the conclusion of Season 4 I began to compare all of the seasons.  Obviously seasons 1 and 2 were the best, but I began to think what it was that attracted me to the series during those seasons.

Season 1 was great because it was the “origin”.  I looked forward to the island scenes wondering how they would escape, and would then be eager to see how the flashback scenes meshed with the current timeline, which they did.  There were two story lines, but each one gave the audience pieces to the overall plot.  The audience also knew that “The Vigilante” would have to turn good somehow, but we were left trying to figure out how Oliver would fight the darkness from the island.  Comic Book lovers also knew that Slade Wilson would eventually turn into Deathstroke, but were constantly guessing how he would turn into the character we all know and love. The death of Tommy was truly gut-wrenching, and I personally thought it was going to be Lance who met his demise until they actually showed Tommy in the destroyed building.  There was constantly a sense of curiosity as to what would happen next.  This was also displayed in the methodical revelation of Malcolm Merlin as the Dark Archer.

Season 2 brought the audience Deathstroke, and it did not disappoint!  Manu Bennett did a wonderful job portraying the character, and was even made stronger as the conflict extended outside of Arrow and Deathstroke into Oliver and Slade which, once again, worked in tandem with the island scenes.  Even though the overarching conflict of “taking down the city” was somewhat repetitive, it was in a different way as Malcolm felt the city needed cleansing, and Slade’s main focus was revenge and doing whatever it took to truly crush Oliver.

Seasons 3 and 4 was where the changes began.  The focus was no longer on Oliver.  There were too many “supporting characters” who had just as much, if not at times more, screen and story time than Oliver.  The anticipation was gone, and the plot was somewhat repetitive.  The previous seasons offered subtle information which made viewers continue to watch each week in order to put the pieces together.  Finding out Sara was alive was shocking, but then the audience began to wonder how she made it off the island and how did she end up with the league?  The big twist of Season 3 was that Oliver was stabbed by Ra’s.  Seeing as it was the mid-season finale, yes, the audience knew Oliver would be back.  We may not have known how, but it was quickly answered.  The flashback scenes were alright.  We were able to see how he gained more of his killer instinct, but the scenes still weren’t as pleasing.  The ending of both seasons was the typical “take over the city / destroy the city / cleanse the city” we had seen already.  I get it, the city is Oliver’s to protect, but there has to be a different focus.  Once the focus turned from Oliver’s story to the supporting characters and magic, Arrow began to lose itself, and its ratings.

I don’t even need to go into details about “Olicity”…

Below is a list of ways that can help mend some of the irritated fan issues and restore some of the ratings, and hopefully the series.

Use Flashpoint to Start Fresh

Starting fresh doesn’t necessarily mean starting over.  This is a perfect opportunity to take what worked with the series and begin to implement those strategies again.  Flashpoint can take away the moments that were awful, unfortunately not from our memories.

Focus on Oliver / The Green Arrow

Not Oliver and Felicity; just Oliver.  It is fine to have Felicity.  They can flirt, whatever, just don’t make that the ongoing theme.  I have seen that Diggle is supposed to have a new mask and new characters such as Madison McLaughlin as Artemis, Josh Segarra as Adrian Chase/Vigilante and Rick Gonzalez's Wild Dog are to be introduced.  That is somewhat concerning as it seems as if they will replace the old group.  If they want to play it right, they will introduce these characters as plot points and individuals willing to help Oliver, but don’t make them a part of every episode.  They are called support characters for a reason.

Make the Flashback Scenes Mysterious / Interesting

No more magic idols.  The idol from Season 4 almost seemed like another character as it changed hands more times than the WWE Championship.  Making the flashback scenes mysterious makes the audience want to see more, which creates interest and reoccurring viewers.  It doesn’t have to take place back on Lian Yu, but make it so it’ll connect to the present timeline or have some interesting importance to the overall Season 5 plot.  Better yet, have it connect to some of the other island scenes and help the audience know more about Oliver’s time away, possibly how he got some of his other scars or how he came back into contact with his friend from Russia.

Make the Villain from the Comic Mythos

Malcolm MerlinThe Dark Archer – Really good / interesting.

Slade WilsonDeathstroke – Amazing!

Ra’s al Ghul – Meh, would have rather seen Liam Neeson again!

Damien Darhk - … Yawn.

Season 5 has said that Anton Church will be the major villain.  I am hoping this character is more like Sebastian Blood from Season 2 hiding a larger, more well-known villain.  The villains often attract fans just as much, if not more, than the protagonist.  Having a strong, known villain, possibly introduced after Anton Church is seemingly the main antagonist, would help with a plot twist, which was severely lacking in Season 4, or the predictability of the twists in Season 3.

Introduce the Weapons Clan

This may be too late for Season 5, but if a Season 6 ever comes around the Weapons Clan story line would be great to adapt!  If you have never read the storyline, I would highly recommend.  Many aspects are already introduced in the Arrow Universe, and using this story line would also help create great flashback scenes. 

Don't Make the Plot Twists Predictable

We knew someone was going to die in Season 4.  It was teased extremely early in the season when Oliver was standing over a grave.  It gave fans time to speculate who would be in the grave; almost too much time.  By the time Laurel actually died, most fans either already knew, due to leaked pictures, or speculated that it would be her, making the overall death feel fairly anticlimactic.  In Seasons 1 and 2 fans were kept on their toes when it came to plot twists.  Who will Oliver save?  Sara?  Shado?  Surely neither will actually get shot.  AH! He shot Shado!  All of those were my reactions in Season 2, let alone my surprise when Oliver's mother was later killed by Slade.  The unpredictable nature is what makes a plot twist memorable.

Finally…Don’t make Arrow, Batman

It’s fine to take some minor elements of other well-known characters, but the Green Arrow has such a rich history of source material.  This was possibly done to bring in new viewers who didn’t know the Green Arrow, but this is Season 5 and they need to worry about getting their old viewers back.  We are still waiting to see the actual Oliver Queen characteristics rather than the brooding characteristics of Batman.

Most will agree that Seasons 1 and 2 were enjoyable.  Arrow producers need to look back and see what worked.  Don’t completely copy it, but focus on all the aspects that made the series so enjoyable.

Do you agree with the suggestions I have?  Did I leave anything out?  What villain(s) do you think could restore the series?  Leave your comments in the normal spot.  Thanks for reading!

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                        

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