Arrow, the television series based on the Green Arrow character from DC Comics is nearing the end of its first season and is officially the network’s #1 show! Not surprising, the show is actually pretty good. Creators Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim, Andrew Kreisberg have woven a tale about an every-man hero in a dark and dangerous environment. Starling City is corrupt, dark, and filled with adventure. It is somewhat reminiscent of another DC Comics City with a “non-powered” vigilante protector.
This show is not about your father’s Green Arrow. It’s an updated, younger version that deals with today’s issues in a hip and often sophisticated way. The young Oliver Queen was a spoiled trust fund kid, who cared little about his effect on the world. He lied, cheated, and used his name and family to justify the behavior. That is, until a shipwreck cost him, his friend, and father and stranded Oliver in a frightening 5 year fight for his life. The show weaves flashbacks to Oliver’s island ordeal alongside the current time stories showing how he gained the skills and knowledge that he uses as Starling City’s vigilante. The Arrow identity is used, by Queen, to hunt down men on a list of criminals that his father gave him before he died. This all translates into a ratings success for CW and a successful comic translation for DC who really wanted to stay in the game post Smallville.
So, What’s next for DC Comics on television? There has been a lot of talk out there that Nightwing should be next. He fits the mold of the non-powered vigilante hero in a grim city that DC seems to like to produce. Gotham City itself could be the basis of a show for that matter. With the murderer’s row of villains, heroes and even the police department to base stories on the possibilities seem endless. It seems, though that DC and the CW want to stay less mainstream, and more edgy with their choice, which could possibly be The Suicide Squad. Andrew Kreisberg commented recently about A.R.G.U.S. appearing in Arrow, “we carefully chose A.R.G.U.S. and did not make Lyla Michaels work for the FBI or CIA.” A.R.G.U.S. is a government agency that deals with superhuman issues in the DC Universe. They have been tied to the Justice League as liaisons, support personnel and even clean-up squads.
The inclusion of A.R.G.U.S. in the world of the Arrow could be a hint into DC’s thinking for the future. With Marvel releasing their TV property, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., soon, DC could certainly be looking to counter with a similar but opposite offering. Marvel’s S.H.I.E.L.D. are the good guys. They are the G.I.Joe of the Marvel Universe. DC’s Suicide Squad couldn’t be more opposite. The Squad is composed of a group of long-time criminals and misfits who were coerced into doing jobs for the government that no one else would do. Under the thumb of Amanda Waller, and the threat of immediate death, the squad performs covert jobs and often do not return, as the title would imply. The more recent version of the group started in Legends #3 in 1987 as written by John Ostrander and has changed drastically in the three series since. The team was dysfunctional, but effective. There have been many roster changes throughout the years, but at least one connection to Arrow is there, Deadshot. We have a government agency, and a member of the Suicide Squad both tied to DC’s current TV property. Looks like DC may be using their #1 rated show to field test their next one. If written correctly Suicide Squad could be a great show. There is certainly nothing like it on TV today, with the possible exception of Jersey Shore. Potentially good shows like Birds of Prey failed in the past due to writing that wasn’t exciting or inspirational, and a lack of use of the powerful roster of characters DC has at their disposal. Let’s hope if they do produce Suicide Squad, they make it a freak show of characters and stories that make us beg for more every week. I will certainly make room in my day to watch truly good comics translations on TV.