Get ready for another superhero series!
This fall on The CW's Arrow, fans will get to follow the exploits of DC Comics' Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell), a playboy who spent five years on a deserted island after a horrific boating accident. The prodigal son will return home and use the alias Green Arrow, a superhero who's super handy with a bow and arrow, to save his precious Star City from the criminals who lie in wait. Arrow has all the trademarks of a great superhero series, including a lost love — Katie Cassidy as Dinah "Laurel" Lance — and the loss of a, spoiler alert, parental figure.
With the premiere of Arrow, The CW has the chance to once again be the home to a long-running superhero series that will not only attract Smallville followers, but also comic book aficionados and fanboys — and even fangirls! — alike. But — and this is a big but — the writers behind Arrow need to adhere to certain rules in hero series as to not make the same mistakes of the past. Therefore, we've created a list of things that Arrow should and shouldn't do in order to be successful based on tried-and-true heroic formats:
1. Smallville: Give fans what they want! Tom Welling & Co. were insistent on sticking to the "no tights, no flight" rule, disappointing fans wanting to see Superman flying in his iconic suit until the series' final episode. The big moments of the Green Arrow canon should — and hopefully will — happen sooner, rather than later. (Fortunately, fans won't have to wait long to see Ollie in costume since he suits up in the pilot.)
2. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Tortured love works. Watching Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and Angel (David Boreanaz) doing the will-they-or-won't-they dance was an ever-present necessity considering if they did, ahem, get together, he'd go crazy and kill everyone. Plus, Buffy had to focus on saving the world, which is precisely what Ollie will also be doing. (You'll have to wait a while for the Ollie and Dinah romance since he seriously breaks her heart in the premiere.)
3. 24: Keep the action high. The Kiefer Sutherland-starring series was at its best when Jack Bauer was constantly running around trying to save the world — so that's pretty much always. The high-intensity, action-packed drama kept fans on the edge of their seats. While there's no countdown clock in Arrow, here's hoping they keep up that same fast-paced action.
4. The Cape: Don't take yourself too seriously. The short-lived NBC series was all camp, much like the original Batman fare. However, The Cape spent much of the time trying to be dark, when it should've embraced the ridiculousness of its premise: a man dressed in a costume trying to save the world. Arrow, a much darker series in its own right, just needs to find the right balance of both.
5. Touch: Keep it simple, stupid. Fox's midseason series was just a touch too complicated, with a mess of intertwining story lines that sometimes had fans scratching their heads or taking notes to keep it all straight. (It's OK, Lost did it, too.) Dear Arrow, one story line a week, that's all you need. Just make sure to find a balance between longer arcs and "villains of the week."
6. Heroes: Don't stray too far from your central characters. The NBC super series was in its prime during the first season, when the show focused solely on saving the cheerleader, and those who helped along the way. But once the world of Heroes opened up to, well, the rest of the world, the series lost touch with the heart of the show. As long as Arrow stays focused on Ollie, and by extension, Dinah, it should be easier for fans to follow.
7. Batman Begins: Keep it gritty and grounded. Christopher Nolan's remake of the Batman franchise surpassed its campy predecessors simply by finding the right balance of danger and darkness in a realistic world. Sure, Christian Bale still flies through the air as a giant bat, but audiences can actually relate to him because Bale plays him as an everyman — who just so happens to be a billionaire.
8. Green Lantern: Don't go overboard with special effects. Just because you can afford to create a whole world on a computer, doesn't mean you should. We're also looking at you, new Star Wars trilogy. Green Lantern was far less believable knowing it was all created using a mouse and keyboard. Plus: Who needs to use that much CGI for a guy shooting arrows?
9. Superman Returns: Don't assume the audience knows everything about the mythos. Even the most diehard Superman fans were at a loss over this travesty of a remake. (Had to actually Wikipedia where this film fell in the mythology after watching it — after II, ignoring III and IV.) In that same vein, try not alienate the audience by inserting too many inside references to the Green Arrow canon. A few for the dedicated comic book fans are great, but don't cross the line, Arrow.
10. Iron Man: Don't make the hero's real life so ostentatious. Both Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Oliver Queen are playboys-turned-superheroes, but Iron Man often crossed the line into ridiculous territory with lavish parties, expensive cars and the like, making him one of the least relatable superheroes. Keep it balanced, Arrow!
11. The Avengers and X-Men: Bring on the superhero friends! Both of these films proved that getting a bunch of superheroes together is a good idea. Since the Green Arrow is a member of the Justice League, it should be no problem — rights pending, of course — to bring on a few of the iconic team members. Though, they can hold off on bringing Superman around considering the new series should put some distance between itself and Smallville. Plus: Make sure Dinah actually takes on the Black Canary alias within the first season.
12. The Vampire Diaries: Don't be afraid to take big risks. CW's other "hero" series — vampires can be good people, too! — was certainly unafraid to kill off their main character in the closing moments of last season's finale. Sure, Elena (Nina Dobrev) will come back as a vampire next season, but it radically alters the climate of the series. Arrow should strive to be as willing to take their viewers over the cliff — as long as there's a safety net ready to catch us at the last minute.
What do you think Arrow should do to be successful?
Arrow debuts Wednesday, Oct. 10 at 8/7 on The CW. Will you be watching?