Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Congratulations, Ollie

Congratulations to DC character Oliver Queen; the 100th episode of his live-action television show airs tonight.

The 100th episode of a show is a milestone for people associated with a show not just because it's one of those nice round numbers humans give significance to, because but it's a commonly used threshold for lucrative series syndication.

I'll say it if no one else will: Green Arrow is stupid. Green Arrow is so stupid, he makes you admit that Batman is stupid (B A T M A N !).  Green Arrow is stupid, and always has been stupid.  In fact, I have said it a million times before, and I'm not alone in that.

The success of Arrow doesn't lie with the character Oliver Queen/Green Arrow.  Green Arrow isn't Batman.  He's not intrinsically interesting.  He's not some character people will watch no matter what.  He has no cache of popular good will, No movie. No previous teevee shows. He wasn't a Super-Friend.  No Filmation cartoons. Heck, even his sidekick SPEEDY got into Filmation.

And Donna was not happy about it.

Yeah sure he was on Smallville.  But is that really in the plus column...?

The success of Arrow lies not with Green Arrow, but with the showrunners, who with cleverness, artistry, and love for comics created an Ollie Queen (and a cast and world around him) that interests and entertains viewers.  That ain't a given, folks.

The Plastic Cat Arrow.
Never forget.

Not only has Arrow been on teevee for 100 episodes, it made television a safe space for superheroes again. After, say, Birds of Prey, there's little reason to expect that EVER to happen.  It's generated a universe of shows around itself and bought scores and scores of DC characters to the public's eye, many for the first time.  It led to the first generally loved portrayal of Superman in the last forty years.

We owe a great deal of the current state of superhero popularity to...Green Arrow.

I may still think he's stupid; but I thank him for it nonetheless.


CobraMisfit said...

If The Plastic Cat Arrow doesn't appear in the teevee show, humanity will have failed us.

Harley said...

You're back! Sqeee!

H said...

Not technically a Super Friend, though he did make a guest appearance in a Season 1 episode. But I agree with the basic idea, that he really lucked out here.

Scipio said...


Scipio said...

" though he did make a guest appearance in a Season 1 episode. " DID he, now? I really can't remember it..!

Anonymous said...

It was just a small cameo.

Anonymous said...

Strangely enough, as much as I love the comics' Green Arrow (yeah I'm one of THEM), I can't get into the show. The first season was a deal-breaker for me, where Ollie had to wrestle with being a killer. That's something superheroes SHOULDN'T wrestle with in general; the fact that they don't kill (except under unusual circumstances) is one of the things that keeps them from being terrifying. Get that wrong and you lose me.

(And yeah, I know Ollie was a killer during the Mike Grell run. I gave up about two issues into the Grell run on exactly those grounds. I stuck through the Nocenti run and even the Percy werewolf Green Arrow run, but not the Grell serial killer run.)

That said, I did watch "Green Arrow" last night because crossover. Is it always that thick with soap opera? More Supergirl, less everybody else please.

Scipio said...

"The first season was a deal-breaker for me, "

Fact is, I didn't see the first and second season. I only started watching when it began to cross over with Flash.

And, yes, it is always that thick with soap opera.

H said...

Yeah, just a small cameo in "Gulliver's Gigantic Goof".

Scipio said...

Was he the gigantic goof?

John said...

The thing about Arrow, as distinct from a Green Arrow comic, I think, is that it's very much an ensemble story.

Sure, Ollie gets a lot of attention and gets a "solo back-up story" in most episodes, but the compelling story (even when he was killing people) has been about the entire cast, and their shared history of...failing the city. The Queens were pretty awful people, Merlyn (and later Ray Palmer) regretted not saving his wife (and fiancée), Diggle had his shady history in Afghanistan, Felicity was trying to climb out from under her mother's image, Detective Lance had his assorted problems. Basically, everyone except Laurel (who didn't really have any chemistry with anyone) was trying to overcome their pasts together, and that makes for pretty compelling storytelling even when the lead is Green Arrow.

The comics, by contrast, focus on Ollie as an action hero, sometimes with sidekicks and helpers, but they only exist to make Ollie look more important. Even when it's Black Canary, who could be an independent heroine, she's just been stranded as "Ollie's girlfriend" for decades. It's a look that isn't terrible on the likes of Superman or Batman, but even in comics, a well-crafted ensemble gives the hero (even Green Arrow!) room to actually be more three-dimensional.

And it only took The CW to figure that out, without a single plastic cat arrow needing to be fired...

Anonymous said...

Judd Winick's run was chock-full of Green Arrow ensembleness. Team Arrow back in the day consisted of Ollie, Dinah, Roy, Connor, and Mia. That's two Green Arrows, two Speedies, and Black Canary. It worked. And one thing it did very well was cast Ollie as an imperfect "patriarch" who needs a good talking-to on occasion but overall is trying to do right, and succeeds more often than not.

Would very much like there to be another Superboy Punch that reinstates Team Arrow to its previous form and puts Winick back on writing duties.

Bryan L said...

"The success of Arrow lies not with Green Arrow, but with the showrunners, who with cleverness, artistry, and love for comics created an Ollie Queen (and a cast and world around him) that interests and entertains viewers."

You forgot abs, Scipio. It's a CW show. Abs.

SallyP said...

The cat arrow was pretty fabulous, but I still like the pearl vacuuming arrow the best.

H said...

No, just a "staunch member of the Justice League".

Cybrid said...

I figured out the real reason you hate Green Arrow, y'know.

Because during the Crisis on Infinite Earths, he took Vibe down with one punch.

Didn't even need to draw his bow.

One punch.

tad said...

I'm afraid I would vote for the tandem use of cat-arrow and custom meow-whistle-arrow over good sense and good plots every time. You could do a really fine 60s-TV-Batman version of Green Arrow. Not exactly the same, but with equal appreciation of beautiful stupidity.

Anonymous said...

tad - Nailed it!

The boxing glove arrow is cool, no matter what anyone says. BONK! Fight's over, with no fatalities.

Kid Kyoto said...

I think it was Tom the Dancing Bug that put it best:

I am 'Fantastically Skilled At Archery Man!' oh no, it's my arch nemesis, 'Somewhat OK at Machine Guns Man!"

Slaughter said...

Watching Green Arrow in tandem with the other shows is great, because the contrast is great:
- Arrow is where things are (mostly) realistic and down to ground, focused on character drama. Things are grounded and dark.
- The Flash is about Non-normal people turned into the Impossible deal with the impossible. All the drama comes from juxtaposing normal human situations with super-hero weirdness - time-travel, alternate universes, super-villains, meta-powers, time paradoxes, etc.
- Supergirl is bright, wide-eyed and optimistic. The immigrant success story of a young woman from another planet, and how she makes this one better by being there.
- Legends of Tomorrow is pretty much a live-action cartoon - a ensemble cast travels through history and deal with morality questions, deadly enemies, themes of fate, destiny, choice and contrast with different epochs of human history. Like its cast, the tone is a mix of Arrow and Flash's, but with the wackyness up to 11.

I wonder if one could fit the shows into the comics ages.

Slaughter said...

I agree with John that a big part of the story is how everyone was failing the city. Its not just about Green Arrow - its about the Queens, the Lances, the Merlyns, the Diggles, all the people of that city. And Oliver, guided by his father, is the one who decided to do something about it.

I think (Green) Arrow works because he is a Batman clone (which everyone knows) - things can be done with him that could't be done with Batman.

- Batman killing dudes left and right? Unless you're back on the 1940s, its a big no.
- Batman's parents (well, his mom) being alive? Fine elseworld.
- Batman's sidekick is a drug addict? No way! Batman taught them better than that (well, except Jason Todd)
- Bruce Wayne has a sibling? Only in E-3, buddy.
- Bruce Wayne... if Bruce Wayne was a real playboy.

Arrow was actually darker than Batman, at least early on. In fact, Oliver still is. But I think the plan here is to end up with a Green Arrow that is brighter and more of a cheery dude than Batman.

I love the character work done to make Oliver such a compelling character. Stephen Amell is really a fantastic actor.

I hope they bring all the cast from the show into the comics. Perhaps even FeFe the Unmentionable (not sure if she works in comics as a character - maybe what we need here is comics Felicity Smoak (who was fine - you remember her, don't you?). We already got Diggle.