After eight seasons, four team-ups, and many, many salmon ladders, Arrow has come to a close. The CW show that started as a simple adaptation of Green Arrow’s comic adventures transformed into the centerpiece for the CW universe of the DC multimedia universe, and in doing so brought some of the most true to comics adventures I’ve seen in live action.
One of the most interesting things about Arrow is how often it changed. At times the status quo shake ups didn’t work (and were downright annoying in places), but in looking at the history of Oliver Queen’s adventures in Star(ling) City, it’s truly impressive to see how far the show has come since it first aired all the way back in 2012. It started as a strict “no capes, no powers” show, but that obviously changed as time went on, and the show introduced spin offs like The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow. That willingness to change worked out spectacularly, and it’s not a controversial claim to say that the TV side of the DC Universe ended up being more successful than the movie side, which is stunning when you consider the fact that the Arrowverse really only had a Superman and no Batman or Wonder Woman to use to boost ratings.
Yet despite that, Arrow still had some jaw-dropping moments for comic fans. From the best live-action Deathstroke in Manu Bennett (sorry Joe Mangianello), to an honest to God true to comics take on Ra’s Al Ghul, Arrow wasn’t afraid to start embracing some of the more ridiculous aspects of comics, and that was before the alternate Earths and insane cosmic level threats started arriving. Not all of it worked, but the sheer amount of “go for it” that the show embraced was truly stunning, and kind of set the standard for how a lot of superhero shows should go. Even at it’s worst, Arrow had some of the best fight scenes on TV, and it was always cool to watch Oliver and his crew bust some heads.
A lot of the reason for Arrow‘s success obviously goes to producer Greg Berlanti, who has overseen this show and the larger DC properties on CW for years, but it should also be mentioned how great Stephen Amell was in the role. He not only gave Oliver Queen a much needed humanity and determination, but judging from his social media and interviews, he also seems like a genuinely down to Earth guy. I’ll admit that one of the reasons I kept with Arrow even during some of the seasons I wasn’t as into was because I liked Amell so much and wanted to support him. Throughout the entire run of the show, Amell was approachable on social media and engaged with his fans in a way I’ve never seen before, and likely never will.
As Arrow takes its final bow, it’ll be interesting to see how the other CW DC shows move one from here. In a lot of ways it’s like the post-Endgame MCU, which also saw their major linchpin hero die. Of course, this is a lot smaller scale than what we saw in movie theaters back in April, but it will be very interesting to see which DC CW character will be poised as the new centerpiece for the TV universe, but the legacy of Arrow will loom large over whoever it becomes.