Tuesday, July 31, 2012

CW misses the target

Curse you, CW Network!  Curse you for putting me in the worst of all possible positions with the worst of all possible duties, specifically:

Defending Green Arrow.

As long-time readers know, Green Arrow is, well, not my top favorite hero.  He's not in my Top Ten.  Or Top 100.  In fact, he falls somewhere between and the Bloodlines characters and Arms-Fall-Off Boy.. 

Hm. Perhaps I need to re-evaluate Arms-Fall-Off Boy's ranking.

However, he is high on the CW's list of heroes, thanks to his breakout appearances on Smallville, the CW's 27-season bastardization of the Superman mythos.  The series took place on a world SO far removed from the DCU ones we all know and love (Earth-[some unspecified Knuth number]) that Green Arrow is the mature, accomplished superhero who mentors young Clark Kent.  Kind of makes the Ellie Wood Walker thing seem reasonable by comparison, doesn't it?

Therefore it should come as no surprise that, with Smallville (finally!) over, the CW is

---really, I can't believe I'm typing these words--

actually giving Green Arrow his own television series, which is one of the seven signs of the oncoming apocalypse.

So both of Smallville's surviving fans are apparently having a hissy fit because "their" Green Arrow (actor Justin Hartley) isn't going to be in it. He's been succeeded in the role of Green Arrow by a Stephen Arnell, mostly because Arnell can do many of his own stunts.  Anything to cut costs, I guess, since Arnell couldn't look much LESS like Green Arrow if he tried.

Hey, I remember this pic from your on-line profile during the Mid-Atlantic Leather Convention: 
"Meaty cub seeks papa bear for cuddling and tough love."

At least he's got plenty of meat on him, so he looks like someone who could actually be pulling a bowstring frequently.

 I mean, Justin is certainly sexy and shapely and all, but he looks more like a violinist than an archer.

 Hey,  weren't you in Riverdance at Wolftrap? I'm sure that was you...

Jeremy "Hawkeye" Renner, for example, looks like he could not only shoot arrows with the massive guns of his, but like he could just walk right up and shove one through you with his bare meaty hands.

 "I'm a love-god and if I shove this arrow through your heart, you'll love me. Briefly, at least."

All of this, of course, misses the point.  What is distressing about the CW's announcement is not that Pretty Actor Y rather than Pretty Actor X will be playing Green Arrow (oops, sorry, just "Arrow", because apparently the "green" is what makes him silly, not the whole "fighting crime with arrows" thing). What's is distressing is that they are having Ollie KILL PEOPLE.  

"Though Guggenheim made the comparison to Batman, one notable difference between the two comic book characters is that Green Arrow deliberately kills bad guys (pretty tough to use an bow and arrow and always aim for the leg)."

Um... but Green Arrow IS good enough to aim for the leg; even I know that's part of the point of Green Arrow.

"“The Arrow always gives the bad guy the opportunity to do the right thing … when he kills, he kills for necessity … it’s not just random violence."

Ollie gives the bad guy the chance to become good... RIGHT BEFORE HE KILLS HIM.  Um... if these bad guys were people who took the opportunity to do the right thing....they wouldn't be bad guys.  WTF?  And what kind of moral turnaround is it really when a bad guy is told, "Pick up your used soda can NOW, Mister, or this arrow goes right through your left ventricle."

"We’ll face the issues of his morality head on…that’s part of the fun quite, frankly, when telling a story about a vigilante.”

Yes, having a hero kill  is all part of the fun, people! C'mon, don't you know that?  Isn't killing what we want our heroes to do?  Isn't that why THE PUNISHER is everyone's favorite hero?

Look, I can respect the artisict decision to tell the story they want to tell.  But I can't respect using Green Arrow to do it.  Green Arrow deserves better than that.  

There are a bunch of kids out there who grew to like Green Arrow as he was portrayed on the Batman: Brave & the Bold animated series, and frankly I don't want them tuning in to watch their childhood hero intentionally shooting arrows through people's necks and hearts.  Now, you may counter that young adults have to expect that the "adult" versions of their childhood heroes are going to be darker and more mature.  Fair enough.  However.... the Batman in Brave & the Bold and the Batman in Dark Knight Rises aren't all that different.  Sure, the tone's a little different, but they are very much the same kind of person with the same kind of morals.  This is not a matter of tone; it's a matter of substance.

Ladies and gentleman, behold the face of a killer.

Just as I complained when DC decided to take Ollie off the deep end and having him turn murderous, I complain now when CW does it.  This is not the Green Arrow who had a crisis of conscience when he accidentally killed someone with one of his arrows.  This is not the billionaire philanthropist Ollie.  This is not the happy go luck Brave and Bold Ollie, the responsible Smallville Ollie, the JLA Satellite era Ollie -- this is not ANY version of Green Arrow.  

And I don't WANT it to be.

Green Arrow deserves better.


Bryan L said...

I guess the only consolation is the fact that it's not Green Arrow. It's just some dude named Arrow. With different hair, a different outfit, etc. So in my mind, anyway, it's already set. This ain't Ollie, this ain't Green Arrow. Done.

Of course, I had no intention of watching it anyway, so my opinion is irrelevant. Couldn't stand Smallville. I struggled through two seasons and gave up.

Scipio said...

Hm. It's good point, Bryan. BUT... if they name him "Ollie Queen" then I myself can't take that attitude...

Shawn Levasseur said...

Ollie isn't a killer?

Someone missed Mike Grell's run with the character.

Scipio said...

No, Shawn, I didn't.

Someone missed my statement that I had objected previous times when DC has made Ollie a killer.

Bryan L said...

I'm betting they don't name him Oliver Queen, Scipio. Let's face it, some suit is going to take objection to one or both parts of that name.

Scipio said...

Oh, you lose that bet already, Bryan!


Anonymous said...

Well, I was going to give the show a chance – but that just sank it for me. If I want to see random murders, I'll watch the news.

– Jack of Spades

Bryan L said...

Oh, come on! What's the world coming to when you can't count on a damn network exec snickering childishly over the name "Oliver Queen"? Stupid CW with their stupid suits. They'll never become a major network with that kind of lackadaisical attention to detail.

John said...

Now, you may counter that young adults have to expect that the "adult" versions of their childhood heroes are going to be darker and more mature. Fair enough. However....

However, adults don't go around killing people to enforce their black-and-white view of morality?

However, it's some costumed clown that runs around the city "secretly" shooting people with a longbow, which is about as conspicuous as the swords on Highlander?

However, "adult" reinventions of characters, by and large, stink?

However, it's airing on a network nobody remembers exists except when the announcement involves DC or Joss Whedon?

However, the "adult" version of a boring character is still boring?

Hey, this is kind of fun!

Anonymous said...

"We’ll face the issues of his morality head on…that’s part of the fun quite, frankly, when telling a story about a vigilante."

No, it really isn't. Your audience needs to trust the superhero, it's a non-negotiable point in this genre. You might be able to bring in a grey-area hero for your protagonist to play off of, but the hero's got to be a morally upstanding guy or it doesn't work.

There are other types of shows where you've got more latitude; fans of "Breaking Bad" know that Walt has pretty much become the show's villain. But he started out doing what he had to do just to get by, and he's gradually gotten good at surviving in the world he's gotten wrapped up in. You can do that in a show about a meth cook and it makes sense; you can't do it in a show about a guy who fights crime because crime is bad.

Scipio said...

I'm glad to see I'm not the only one disturbed by this sort of thing.

Nathan Hall said...

Thou dost fret too greatly, dead Scipio. Don't you remember the Birds of Prey series that made Huntress into a hoppy superwoman and Black Canary into a psychic?

If you don't, you're just like everyone else. It's been consigned to that place nonsensical dreams go when we open our eyes, with no influence on the comic or the CW or anything else at all.

Green Arrow will almost certainly shoot off in that direction. There's not need to (forgive the pun) quiver.

Bryan L said...

I remember Birds of Prey. Know why? Because on the dirt-cheap DVD set, they also included the Gotham Girls webtoon, which is great. Though I am embarrassed to have that set in my DVD rack.

SallyP said...

Well, I wasn't going to watch this anyway, and I sure as hell aren't going to watch it now. I actually have a grudging affection for Ollie. He's a jerk of course, but he does try to be a hero. And I've always enjoyed he and Barry fighting for Hal's favors.

But this?


Anonymous said...

Sort of repeating myself here, but I still need to get it out of my system. The difference between a superhero/archer and a lunatic with a bow is that the superhero is even more respectful of human life than the police. As in, he or she makes a point of not killing, not even when any normal person would feel it was justified. On those few occasions where an exception has to be made, it needs to be treated as an exception, and a choice not made at all lightly. Killing to save innocent lives when there is no other choice would be a good example.

You can argue there's precedent for Ollie Queen killing at will (the Grell era), but there are those of us who think that was a different character altogether; or if it WAS Oliver Queen, it was the worst version yet, even worse than the current craptastic Nocenti run (totally called it BTW). At least Nocenti gives Oliver Queen a healthy respect for life.