1) “Pilot” – October 10, 2012
Super-soldiers, super-powers, and soon the supernatural. It’s curious then that looking back at the very beginning of Arrow it was dedicated to the idea of gritty realism. Inspired in no small part by Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, Arrow was originally intended to be a serious crime drama that just so happened to feature a man in a hood and armed with a bow and arrow. Let’s just say things evolved, but as an encapsulation of the original concept, the pilot of Arrow is a solid hour of television that strikes all the right notes.
It started with solid casting. Stephen Amell was a surprise find to play Oliver Queen/Green Arrow, and he immediately established an impressive authoritative and physical presence in the part. It was the latter, of course, that managed to draw in a mainstream audience and The CW was unafraid to parlay the fact that Amell is a good looking man in its advertising for the show.
Structurally though, the Arrow pilot is a well-constructed hour. Veteran TV director David Nutter helped birth the show’s strong stunt work and awesome fight choreography, while the script immediately establishes the complex and sometimes tenuous relationships between the characters, and clearly sets up Oliver’s mission as the Starling City vigilante going forward. The entire affair is almost a movie in and of itself, not to mention the fact that it launches the series on a very strong note.