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Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) has returned to his city to bring justice to those that have abused its people. Now as The Hood, Queen has survived his first year but next he will become The Green Arrow and really get down to the business of being a hero.

Arrow Season 2
I haven’t been watching Arrow, it’s not because I don’t like the character or anything, though admittedly he’s never been a favourite. Green Arrow's perfect inclusion in the Justice League Animated Series and his view of things in the fantastic DC event Identity Crisis a good few years back now really warmed me to his character and since then I have a fondness for him that goes beyond just finding his relationship with Black Canary cute. I’ve pretty much hated him in all things post the DC52 reboot (but then there’s not a lot else I’ve liked about it either) but even with that said, it’s sort of out of character for me that I had no real desire to delve into Green Arrow when he got his own a TV show.

Okay, so going in cold the infinitely helpful catch up first episode that shows me an overview of Arrow Year One got me all up to speed and it also hit home why I wasn't at all bothered with catching this show on TV. Rewind a bit and I was a big Smallville fan. I drifted as many did in the later seasons that outstayed their welcome a bit but the strong flourishing connection between Lois and Clark in the show totally won me back before it went out with a bang. However, three or four episodes into Season 2 of Arrow reminded me of exactly why I drifted away from the TV show format of Superhero drama. I have absolutely lost my patience with how these stories are told.

Arrow Season 2
I struggled through half a season of Team Knight Rider S.H.E.I.L.D.  before giving up for much the same reason. I just can’t deal with the melodramatic overkill in these things anymore. I don’t like the ill placed chuckles, usually delivered to lighten the mood but always feel tonally wrong, I don’t like the forced tension, the angst ridden stares between forever arguing characters (who most of the time you have to question how they can even stand to be in the same room with one another) and I hate the constant verbalisation of the “tough” choices our lead has to make.

Every single episode seems to be either a bad thing happening that has Queen questioning if he should still be Green Arrow or there's something pushing him to once again become Green Arrow because the city needs him. All of this is backed up with everyone in Queen's life either double crossing him or trying to prove their value after double crossing him previously and it’s all so dull and repetitive and after ten seasons of Smallville  (as well as many a Buffy, Roswell and whatever else thrived in the 90s) this has all quite literally all been done before.

Arrow Season 2
Now with my personal feelings aside, I ploughed through because I've heard alot of great things about this show from friends or fans and I wanted it to click for me too (oh yeah, and I had to review it of course). I sat through some horrid acting, some Deathstreke stuff, a whole lot of   Black Canary (who wears a long blonde wig over long blond hair for absolutely no reason). A slither of Harley Quinn and a whole lot of talk of Ra's Al Ghul. Despite the constant shout outs to the fan in me, I struggled, I really did.

As a teen aimed action based drama Arrow works, if that’s your thing. It’s basically Smaville via a long stay at The OC with a bit of LOST thrown in for good measure (though the flashbacks here really are made up as they go along and make little sense at times). All, and I mean all of the cast are stupidly pretty. Our lead Stephen Amell is pretty good at playing the hardened older Arrow and the young wide eyed Queen but with all the talk around town that he should be included in the upcoming Justice League movie line up, having this season as a basis, I have to disagree. I’m not saying Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill are the greatest actors of their generation or anything but Arnell would feel totally out of place beside them I think. He has a way to go before he’d feel anything more than a solid TV actor and judging by the scale Snyder and Warners are going with the Justice League franchise, I feel he would be as out of place in it as taking a much younger brother along to party when you’re are now old enough to hit on girls and drink. He feels a bit wet behind the ears but giving him the benefit of the doubt, because he has his better moments, it could just be the formulaic set up of the show he’s in that’s forcing that out of him.

The confirmation that Arrow is even part of the newly growing DCU Film universe is pending as far as I'm aware but given that Arrow ties into the upcoming The Flash series, I guess it’s safe to assume they both have to be deemed part of the master plan if Warners want to go toe to toe with the ever growing TV/Film plans over at Marvel.

Arrow Season 2

Video


The video presentation on this DVD is pretty lousy by HD broadcasting standards but that’s pretty typical for TV shows on DVD. It gives the relatively cheap looking show, with its darkness lit by hideous neon lighting  look all that much cheaper and the grubby elements  in the darker scenes does nothing to show off the show's obvious glossy looks. The image is quite gritty, pretty soft round the edges and frankly lacking.

It’s not all bad though. Brighter, sunnier scenes can show the discs at their best and colours, such as y’know, green (there I said it, green!), can really pop and skin tones lose some of their orangey tints, that they suffer from a lot of the time. Generally primary colours hold up well, as long as its red and blue, which there seemed to be a lot of peppered about. Black levels are varied but often soft and washy looking rather than all that solid and really other than the glossy shine the production relies on to sell its pretty cast, the overall presentation here looks flat and pretty uninteresting.  

Arrow Season 2

Audio


The 5.1 track is pretty middling. Dialogue is consistently clear and strong and sits centrally at all times and that reserves much of the score and ambience to share the surrounds. In general the constant synthy score sits very well, it feels wide and layered and works as sometimes the best part element in the mix. The sound effects sit in the left and right speakers a lot but are a little less interesting and are often just 'there' but overall the blend of the elements work well.

It's really the show off moments that keep the tracks from excelling. They rarely really push any limits. No strong bass, no noticeable dynamic range or really anything that feels anything outside the range of most teen TV shows.

Arrow Season 2

Extras



It's all pretty basic for the first four discs.

Disc 1: Deleted Scenes
Disc 2: Deleted Scenes
Disc 3: Deleted Scenes
Disc 4: Deleted Scenes

but getting to the last disc, it gets a bit more interesting...

Disc 5: 'From Vigilante To Hero' (23:13) discusses the character of Arrow and falls in line with the many good DC Universe featurettes across their multiple releases and delves into the characters history as well as this current spin on him. Theres talk of progression since season 1 and where Season 2 has gone.

'How Did the do that? The visual effects of Arrow' (10:50) and 'Wirework: The Impossible Moves of Arrow' (09:20) cover some of the crews part in the making of the show and the 'Arrow 2013 Comic-Con Panel' (26:11) is a likeable bunch talking to their fanbase.

Arrow Season 2

Overall


Green Arrow is the teen action drama formula working on overdrive. It badly wants to appear dark and broody like the Nolanverse Batman films (especially The Dark Knight) but the production is so cheap (and largely with recycled sets from Smallville it seems) it’s hard to take the melodrama of the whole thing all that seriously at times. I can see why the show has a loyal following, it’s ticking all the fanboy boxes whenever it can and is tapped into the current “cool” approach to comics, which always goes down well.

I’m sure my negativity just comes from my general boredom over the bombardment of super-projects coming in from all sides at the moment, mixed with my zero tolerance feelings towards many a freak-of-the-week/ I can't be the hero/I must be the hero teen aimed show but Arrow wasn't for me really. I'm really hoping the upcoming Gotham is much better than what's on offer with Arrow because TV feels so beyond this set up and it would be a shame to waste Jim Gordon on the same old forced drama.

The set is pretty standard Standard Definition stuff in terms of quality, with a slightly above average audio presentation. Features are mainly deleted scenes and glossy featurettes as you’d expect, fans will be happy just not ecstatic I’d imagine.


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