Green Arrow gets Smallville‘d. The new hour-long drama for the CW casts as Stephen Amell as billionaire Oliver Queen who, as the “Pilot” episode opens, is rescued from a deserted island in the North China Sea after five years in isolation. Queen returns to his mother (Susanna Thompson) and sister (Willa Holland) in Starling City but finds himself haunted by the past and the boating accident which took the lives of his father (Jamey Sheridan), his latest conquest (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood) and five crew members.
As Oliver’s family and best friend Tommy Merlyn (Colin Donnell) attempt to get him reacclimated to life in the big city, the lost billionaire only cares about earning the forgiveness from his former girlfriend Dinah Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy), the sister of the girl who was killed at sea, and beginning his new career as a vigilante. His return to normalcy is also interrupted when Oliver and Tommy are kidnapped by masked thugs with questions about the accident and secrets long buried.
After dispatching the hired guns (including murdering one in cold blood) Oliver concocts a story about a green-hooded savior who came to his rescue. It’s a story that Detective Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne) is loathe to buy until Oliver dons the hood and brings Green Arrow to life. Saddled with a professional bodyguard (David Ramsey) after the attempt on his life, Oliver attends his welcome home party and secretly begins putting together a base of operations and shaking down his father’s former shady business associates including Alan Hunt (Brian Markinson).
As Pilot episodes go Arrow is something of a mixed bag. Although it stays true to the comic character’s origins the gritty version delivered here (whose actions kill or cripple more than a dozen people in the space of a single episode) are far sight from the character’s original comic adventures and sadly far more like the current New 52 version of the character. The idea of the list of criminals left to him by his father, and only showing flashbacks of what happened leading up to and on the island, both work well. The final twist at the end concerning the identity of the person who hired his would-be kidnappers is also a nice touch.
The costume doesn’t look bad, but the lack of a mask or any attempt to really hide his features when he isn’t in the shadow makes Smallville‘s attempts at ridiculous sunglasses for its version of the character look well though-out. Also problematic is how small the world of Starling City (really, somebody actually thought that sounded better than Star City?) seems incredibly small as his girlfriend, the girl who died on the ship, and their father are all intricately connected not only to Oliver but his new persona as well. I could also deal with far less of the brooding melodramatic narration that is near impossible to take seriously.