Arrow is preparing to enter into its fifth season and the hit show has managed to redefine itself nearly as many times. The series got its foundation by creating a fresh take on the Green Arrow origin story and built a semi-grounded playground for the character to grow in. The world grew exponentially when they introduced Barry Allen and the existence of meta-humans in subsequent seasons. Since that point, Arrow has increasingly leaned into the show's comic book origins and gradually lightened its tone as well.
There have been clear signs that the show intends to get back some of its edge in the upcoming season however. Recently, actor Stephen Amell promised a refocused show, with mind-blowing new action sequences. While the CW network's success is largely built on shows with fantastical elements, such as Supernatural and The Flash. Initially, Arrow represented the gritty window into the world of DC Comics through the lens of a heroic vigilante. By season 4, the show had branched off from its grounded roots by increasing the amount of humor, romance, and elements of the supernatural.
In order for any show to stand the test of time, it needs to continually reinvent itself. In a recent edition of TV Line, Arrow showrunner Wendy Mericle explained how they plan to redefine the action and raise the stakes in the fifth season:
“I can say it looks amazing. We’re now part of this [TV] universe where you have Game of Thrones and the way that they deal with violence and how they do their fights, so it’s our attempt to do something similar. It’s bloody. You’re in it. We’re doing a lot more ‘first person’ – not necessarily point of view – action. Stephen has been a huge proponent of doing that, and it’s going to feel real and in your face.”
Evoking Game of Thrones' levels of violence could ultimately be disappointing, by setting an unrealistically high bar for the network show to reach. However, setting such a lofty goal should at least help the show evolve in a positive direction.
Arrow intends on getting up close and personal with its action scenes, which should help to distinguish it from the lighter nature of other CW superhero shows, like The Flash and Supergirl. During last month's San Diego Comic-Con, Amell made mention of the show getting back to its "street level-crime-fighting-make-Star-City better show" roots in the upcoming season. Mericle's thoughts about the scale and tone of the action seem to be in line with the actor's previous comments, which should be encouraging to skeptical fans.
While Arrow will be picking up its intensity, there are still large emotional threads that have to be dealt with. Felicity Smoak, played by Emily Bett Rickards, went through the grinder last season. Mericle explains that the computer whiz will be in a very different place during the season opener:
“She’s in a very similar place to Dig. She’s really grappling with what happened in Havenrock, consumed with that guilt... She’s broken up with Oliver. She’s lost her company. And the one thing she has in this life in the bunker. So she’s doubled down on doing that. Until she gets past what happened in Havenrock, she’s going to stay in that state of limbo.”
It seems many of the members of Team Arrow will be focusing their pain directly into crimefighting, while still harbouring deep, untreated emotional wounds. Felicity has had to endure her share of trauma in recent seasons, with her struggling through rocky relationships, new family revelations, and even paralysis. Hopefully, the Arrow writers have found a slightly less polarizing way to handle the "Olicity" drama than previous seasons.
The fifth season is said to feature a heavier emphasis on street-level villains and vigilantes for Team Arrow to contend with. The addition of actors with histories as tough guys, such as Chad L. Coleman and Dolph Lundgren, signal that the physicality of the show will pick up in its fifth season. After season 3 and 4, Arrow may have lost the attention of some of its original fanbase. We will find out this fall if the changes in relationships and more dynamic action scenes will result in a resurgence in the show.
The Flash season 3 will premiere Tuesday October 4th at 8pm on The CW, Arrow season 5 will premiere in the same timeslot on Wednesday October 5th, Supergirl season 2 on Monday October 10th, and Legends of Tomorrow season 2 on Thursday October 13th.
Source: TV Line