Straight shooter

The new superhero series Arrow, coming soon to Nine, is utterly ridiculous but plays it relatively straight and serious . . . which only adds to the fun of the whole thing.

Consider me on board with this tale of a mysterious vigilante based on the DC Comics character Green Arrow cleaning up the streets of his city armed with his trusty bow and arrow and his absurdly defined musculature.

I've caught the barrage of adverts promoting Arrow in the lead-up to its premiere, you've already enjoyed a taste of the show's mildly intoxicating mix of silly and cool, mainly in the form of the hero sharpshooting myriad flying tennis balls with his archery skills and doing pull-ups that look insanely difficult.

Normally a hero this fit, capable and good-looking would be enough to have me switching off my TV in a fit of pique and drowning my sorrows in an ice-cream sundae.

But the show's ace in the hole (or arrow in the quiver) is its lead Stephen Amell, who displays a winning soulfulness and sincerity to complement the strong physical presence he brings to the table. (He reportedly does nearly all his own stunts. I may have something of a man-crush on the guy.)

He plays Oliver Queen, a billionaire playboy in the Bruce Wayne vein (the series does borrow pretty heavily from director Christopher Nolan's Batman films and there are certainly worse sources of inspiration) who returns home to Starling City after a shipwreck that left him stranded on an island for five long years.


Regarded by many as a bratty, entitled lad-about-town before his disappearance, Oliver has become a different man, the reason being an ordeal he could only survive by forging himself into a weapon. (Expect regular flashbacks explaining why.)

So now he's a badass archer and martial arts expert who is also fluent in several languages and a dab hand at hacking computers. (That must have been some island.) And he's out to "bring justice to those who have poisoned my city by going out under cover of darkness and putting the hurt on the bad guys'.

Sounds like fun, right? It is, even if it's a little derivative and a bit predictable. The action scenes, however, have a kinetic energy thanks to Amell and there's a pleasingly soapy, melodramatic quality to Oliver reacquainting himself with the people he left behind during his five years away, especially former lover Laurel (Katie Cassidy), who's more than a little miffed at Oliver because (a): her sister died during the shipwreck and (b): said sister was having an affair with Oliver at the time.

There's also the set-up for an enjoyable running joke about the serious, steadfast Oliver having to maintain his reputation as a drunken party boy as a cover for his after-dark heroics.

Can Arrow maintain the momentum set by its early episodes? I certainly hope so. This isn't a great show by any stretch, but it is great fun a lot of the time and sometimes that's all that matters.

Arrow, Nine, coming soon