In just about ten days, everyone’s favorite archer (sorry Hawkeye), will make his return for the second season of ARROW on the CW. As someone who significantly enjoyed the first season, I’m very excited to see what’s in store for “The Hood.” Given the already announced casting news of Grant Gustin as TV’s Barry Allen aka The Flash, the scope of what we can expect in this new season seems to be growing exponentially. For all intents and purposes, ARROW seems to be leading the way in expanding the DC Universe among mainstream audiences.
As a lifelong DC Comics fan, I’m excited that WB seems to be finally moving towards the aggressive side of exploiting their IP, albeit on the small screen. Recently announced GOTHAM and CONSTANTINE are further evidence that the recent leadership change at the studio may end up proving fruitful for the studio and fans alike. While TV is not always the first preference when it comes to comic book/superhero properties, I do appreciate the initial planning and effort that is being put forth. Only time will tell if these small screen endeavors increase the chances of big screen franchises in the years to come.
When it comes to Oliver Queen and the return to the earthquake-ravaged Starling City, the future in uncertain but exciting. DC/WB are being aggressive in their planned expansion of the DC Universe. There are a few ways that this can be viewed. I love the idea of expanding the universe in which the Green Arrow exists, but I hope it doesn’t come at a cost to the integrity of the show. Seeing other recognizable characters from DC Comics in a live-action TV show has the potential be a great thing. However, the title of this show is ARROW. It’s not the DC Universe, it’s not Justice League. I don’t have an issue with using ARROW to launch THE FLASH for next year, but expanding the DC Universe should never go past a couple episode guest spot.
During its later years, SMALLVILLE nearly went full-on Justice League with their story lines. Some would argue that those were some of the highlights of the entire series and I enjoyed those stories quite a bit too. However, I never really got on board for a “JV” Justice League. These weren’t fully formed characters but they were already marching towards what we knew they would eventually become throughout the preceding decades of comic book stories. In my opinion, there are just certain aspects of the comic book/superhero universe better suited for the multiplexes.
Many fans, including myself, are disappointed at the possibility of the delayed cinematic version of The Flash now that the character has been repurposed for The CW. I think the idea to spin his show out of ARROW is a pretty inspired and smart idea. Unfortunately, I know that Barry Allen will still not be getting the full canvas of storytelling that only a movie screen can offer. I have no reason at this time to doubt that THE FLASH can be a compelling weekly story to tell on TV, but it’s going to need to go above and beyond what ARROW does consistently to be considered a true hit. The landscape for storytelling changes when you have main characters with superpowers. Not only does this elevate expectations for itself but it does for ARROW as well. And therein lies the heart of my concern.
I’m a firm believer in the mantra of the story comes first. On one hand, it’s obvious that DC/WB are pushing to expand the reach of their IP. On the other hand, they are directly using an existing show as a springboard. Was this a studio mandate or did the writers of ARROW in the early stages of working on season two come up with a great reason to bring Barry Allen into the same world they created for Oliver Queen? As of right now, I don’t believe the latter is true. For those of us who prefer to see our favorite DC Comics characters on the silver screen, what happens in season two of ARROW could be a double-edged sword. If the appearance of The Flash and subsequent spin-off TV series end up being a significant success, fans of DC Comics may be in for the long haul in front of their TV screens if they want to enjoy those characters in a live-action format. Outside of Batman, Superman, and possibly Wonder Woman, the shared DC Cinematic Universe could be on the way to becoming the DC Televised Universe.
Now would probably be a good time to insert “beggars can’t be choosers” into my concerned stream of consciousness. And yes, that’s true. I know films are expensive and come with a much greater risk versus the potential return on investment. I know that over time, TV shows can reach a far greater audience than a movie ever could. But I don’t want the live-action DC Universe to grow just because of a executive mandate. I want the push to expand to come first and foremost from the heart of creativity.
TV and Film are and always will be a business. But people don’t purchase movie tickets or program their DVR’s just because something new is coming. They do it because they want to be entertained. They want to escape. They want to connect. It’s great to have variety and so many choices for entertainment. But there are far fewer choices that ever stand the test of time. So many pilots and films come out each year and are quickly forgotten. But every once in awhile a team of creative people come along and produce something that you will never forget. It doesn’t matter if it’s a TV show or a film, the right experience can stay with you.
My only hope for season two of ARROW is that this time next year, I’ll be reminiscing about how great the stories were and not about how many characters I recognized from the DC Universe.
Keep your browsers locked on Modern Myth Media for our upcoming coverage of ARROW season two!