Smallville was a groundbreaking television show. Sure, the first couple of seasons were rough. The show was a little too interested in appealing to female teenagers, hence all the soapy melodrama.
But over time, it found its stride, leaning hard into its literary roots and finally telling a story that even the most sophisticated comic book nerd would have found difficult to ignore.
But then it ended in 2011 and the CW Television Network scrambled to find a replacement. When news of a Green Arrow show first surfaced, most of us hoped that the project would be a spinoff, following the escapades of the emerald archer as he had existed in Smallville.
Our hopes were dashed when we learned that the CW had an entirely unique angle in mind. But we met Stephen Amell’s Green Arrow in 2012 with open arms, and our faith was rewarded.
Six years later, like Smallville, the sun is finally setting on Arrow. The TV Show’s eighth season will be its last. And just like Smallville, Arrow’s finale will mark the ending of an era. When it finally bows out, the show will leave behind one of the most successful superhero universes ever put to television.
Today, the so-called Arrow-verse is a bright and colorful chain of television shows that include Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow and Batgirl.
And it all started with Arrow. Stephen Amell proved that the small screen had the means and the ingenuity to give life to some of the comic book medium’s most iconic heroes. And as big a fan of Arrow as I am, even I have to admit that this is as appropriate a time as any to end the show.
Arrow’s first two seasons were stellar. The hero was something new, something, darker, something we had never encountered before. But then season three rolled around and the quality of the show declined. The likes of Flash and Legends of Tomorrow came into the picture and the people in charge decided that it was no longer enough for Amell’s Oliver Queen to stand in the dark.
They thought it was time for him to step out into the light, to discard his anger and penchant for killing in favor of the façade of a more traditional superhero.
Basically, they cleaned him up. They gave him friends and a family and regrets and a sappy emotional core. They forgot what made him so special in the first place; the fact that his ruthless nature and gritty outlook are what set him apart.
Arrow has tried to recapture the magic of those first two seasons. They keep failing because they want to have their cake and eat it too. They want Oliver Queen to play the violently unyielding vigilante whilst also making him friendly enough to appeal to fans of the traditional TV hero.
And so we find ourselves here, in a place where Arrow has no new ground to explore, no worthwhile experimentation to pursue. So, this is as good a time as any to end.
Of course, the fact that Arrow is the only show worth watching in the entire Arrow-verse is problematic. Once it goes, I will have no more reason to tune in to that particular corner of the CW.