Stephen Amell’s Arrow season 4 was a lackluster fall from grace, the actor admits. As season 5 picks up, there are expected to be changes to bring back the feeling which made the series a hit from the beginning.
The CW arguable kickstarted the popularity of the superhero TV series when they put The Green Arrow in front of us around the same time Marvels The Avengers revived Clark Gregg’s Agent Coulson in Agents of SHIELD. As the shows gained popularity for adding to the cravings for live-action superheroes with intelligent storylines instead of overly flashy visuals (Batman & Robin), they inspired spin-offs. Agent Carter and The Flash soon came into existence.
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Now DC and Marvel superhero TV series are almost everywhere and nearly rival AMC shows like Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead. However, as any TV viewer will tell you, there are low points in every series. The Big Bang Theory started losing its touch around the time when Howard Wolowitz (Simon Helberg) was hyping his journey into space and planning to get married. People tired of hearing about the “international space station” over and over, and the public declared it was no longer funny.
As Arrow season 4 has taught us, when a TV series breaks off in unusual directions it can often fall flat. There were hints of this happening in season 3 when Stephen Amell’s Oliver Queen had decided to go slightly rogue and infiltrate Ra’s Al Ghul’s secret society, and the story seemed to slow to a crawl. Even the flashbacks to how the Green Arrow came to be who he is had become less interesting as the series seemed to abandon the Slade Wilson storyline in favor of something which felt too much like filler.
Stephen Amell admits the show fell flat trying to do something different, says Cinema Blend.
“There’s a lull in any relationship, where you have a come-to-Jesus moment, and that happened to me in Season 4. We are a street-level crime-fighting show. We’re at our best when we’re focused on those things. I do really believe that this season is sort of a throw-down-the-gauntlet year for us, where we’re either going to do what we do and do it well or it’s the last year.”
With new shows like Supergirl and Luke Cage, and the upcoming Iron Fist, older shows have even more pressure to maintain their fan base. We simply have more options now, often having to choose between Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow … and that’s just the DC collection. Marvel is still working up to The Defenders and a possible all-out crossover in the upcoming Infinity War film.
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With all of these choices begging for our time, each show needs to focus on what it’s best at, as Stephen Amell suggests. The Green Arrow needs to stay a street-level team of vigilantes and eschew the supernatural villains and themes. The Flash is only effective when confronted by meta-humans and forced to figure out how to stop them. Supergirl would need to keep focusing on a combination of being a positive example for young women while taking on hardcore villains who challenge her abilities.
Above all, any lulls in the action could be seen as the series dropping off. Just ask anyone who gave up on Daredevil early on: If you don’t offer enough action, it can seem boring and forgettable. This is the biggest reason so many people hated Jessica Jones. It was a slow-moving story which dealt more with inner struggle than with super-powers, and that doesn’t translate well on a screen.
Hopefully Arrow season 5 can bring the audience back and remind us why we watched it for the first two seasons.
[Featured Image by The CW]