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– by David Kozlowski

Welcome to Stop>Drop>Watch, a new LRM feature where we recommend recent or current TV shows (and movies) you may have missed, stopped watching, or simply want to try out. With DVRs, streaming services, and on-demand it’s easier than ever to discover new stuff, but the amount of content makes it hard to choose what to watch. We’re here to help!

The CW’s Arrow

Arrow — based on DC Comics’ Green Arrow long-running comic book series — established the modern, live-action superhero TV series way back in 2012. Arrow is a gritty, street-level, action-adventure series focused on crime and vigilante justice in the Midwestern town of Star City. We think it’s kind of awesome! Here’s a preview of Arrow‘s current storyline (Season 6):

Related – Arrow: Is Vigilante The Key?

If you haven’t watched Arrow recently (or at all), Season 6 is a great jumping-on point. This is a character-driven, “team” show with some of the best hand-to-hand fighting you’ll find on TV. Arrow also shares a connected, narrative universe (aka the “Arrowverse”) with The CW’s Supergirl, The Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow. (DC’s Black Lightning, which debuted this year, is not currently part of the Arrowverse.) Many of the characters in these Arrowverse shows actually originated on Arrow too!

Arrow’s had an up-and-down run over its lifespan on The CW. It stars Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen/Green Arrow, who has grown into the role and earned his place as one of TV’s greatest crimefighters. Arrow Seasons 1 and 2 were dark and violent — lots of people died during this span, good and bad alike — often at the hands of the Green Arrow himself; he was called “The Hood” in the show’s early episodes. Fans loved these first two seasons, which featured an all-time great supervillain performance by Deathstroke (Manu Bennett). Unfortunately, Seasons 3 and 4 went off-the-rails, as the show delved into the occult and magic, contrasting with the series street-level tone and style. By the end of the Season 4, Arrow appeared headed for cancellation.

And then Season 5 debuted. The show’s creators essentially rebooted the character and reset the storytelling back to its Season 1 crimefighting roots (mostly). Green Arrow emerged as the superhero everyone knew he could be. He formed new team too, including DC Comics fan-favorites: Mr. Terrific, Black Canary (the show’s third iteration of this character), Ragman, Artemis, and Wild Dog. “Team Arrow” was a hot mess of differing personalities and styles, and it worked brilliantly. This flawed group of heroes turned the show on its ear: disagreements, confrontations, in-fighting, and even a major betrayal — it was all great stuff. Team Arrow also confronted an outstanding new villain: Prometheus, a strong rival to Deathstroke, in terms of menace and capability.

Where You Should Start Watching:

Late last season, Queen ran for mayor of Star City — and won — while continuing to work nights as Green Arrow (it’s unclear if he ever sleeps). It’s a juggling act that’s destined for failure. Queen remains a flawed character in Season 6; he constantly lies to his city employees, his vigilante teammates, and even his own son — all to maintain his superhero alter ego. It’s not working. His team has fractured, he’s being investigated by the FBI, and his son doesn’t trust him. Superheroing ain’t all it’s cracked up to be!

You might be asking yourself: how can a vigilante pull double-duty as mayor and still maintain his secret identity? And at what cost? That question is the essence of this season’s plot. Queen’s overlapping careers are starting to show cracks; for example, the Star City police, whom he regularly battles, now work for him! (That’s what you might call: a massive conflict of interest.) Also, a new cabal of villains, each with different skills and motivations, are assaulting Star City as repayment for one or more sins from Queen’s past. Adding complexity to the storytelling, three of Queen’s teammates — Black Canary, Mr. Terrific, Wild Dog — quit Team Arrow and formed their own super squad, competing with Green Arrow as protectors of Star City.

There are several great starting points for Arrow, depending on what you’re looking for in a vigilante series. Despite the show’s continuity you could easily start watching:

  • Season 1: Start at the beginning when Green Arrow was “The Hood” — an anti-hero who isn’t afraid to kill. A lot.
  • Season 2: Meet Deathstroke, the biggest-baddest supervillain on TV!
  • Season 5: A new Team Arrow forms and confronts Prometheus, a ruthless adversary and a tactical genius.
  • Season 6: Why have one supervillain when you can have 3 (or more, it’s hard to keep track this season).

Why You Should Be Watching Arrow:

Arrow succeeds when it focuses on its characters. Everyone in this show — good and bad — has a complex backstory; they are all broken individuals in different ways. How they each juggle their various strenths, weaknesses, and needs makes this show tick. And this season, the villains are as interesting as the heroes, including Cayden James (Michael Emerson), Vigilante (Johann Urb), and Ricardo Diaz (Kirk Acevedo) — all solid, professional actors who can hold a scene.

The fight choreography in Arrow is also spectacular, and another key reason to watch. Each episode includes at least one or more fights between heroes and villains — sometimes with guns and arrows, sometimes with fists and feet, but always with style and flair. James Bamford (Watchmen, Elysium) is Arrow‘s stunt coordinator, producer, and frequent director — whether the fights are one-on-one or many-on-many, Bamford brings an energy and authenticity to these battles that rivals anything else on TV and even film (seriously).

Where You Can Find Episodes And Seasons of Arrow:

New episodes of Arrow air on The CW network each week (Thursdays at 9 p.m.); recent episodes can be streamed for free on The CW website. Additionally, previous seasons of Arrow can be found on Netflix, Hulu, TNT, CTV (in Canada) and also via on-demand (depending on your cable service).

Are you a new, returning, or regular viewer of The CW’s Arrow? Let us know in the comments down below!

Arrow airs on The CW network Thursdays at 9 p.m. EST/PST.

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SOURCE: Arrow

David Kozlowski is a writer, podcaster, and visual artist. A U.S. Army veteran, David worked 20 years in the videogame industry and is a graduate of Arizona State University's Film and Media Studies.