TV Thoughts: Arrow, Nashville

Arrow: Pilot

While I tuned into Smallville on and off for most of its ten seasons, I can’t ever say I was really a huge fan.  Part of it my initial TV snobbery, dismissing it as little more than a hybrid of Buffy and the X-Files (though to its credit, Smallville‘s explanation of  x plus kryptonite equals wacky happening made a bit more sense than some of the later seasons of the X-Files attempts at explaining wacky events).

I watched enough to know that Green Arrow was part of the last couple of years of the show and that a vocal contingent of fans would like it if the character as portrayed on Smallville had got his own spin-off.

I wasn’t necessarily one of them and after watching the pilot, I’m glad this series is starting fresh.   I’m not a huge Green Arrow fan (in fact, I’ve read none of the comics featuring him and have no clue about his mythology) but it seems like the pilot episode has taken a page from the recent Christopher Nolan films and kept the hero a bit more grounded.  I’m not saying that it’s realistic that a guy would survive on a desert island for five years, all the time bulking up and training himself for a mission to clean up his city.   But there’s a darker, grittier feel to Arrow than we got from Smallville–and there are a whole lot of echoes of Batman, which could be exactly what the CW is going for here.  OK, so Oliver Queen only has one dead parent and a mother who is apparently not happy that he’s back, but there’s a whole lot of room for angst.  He’s also got a member of the house staff who believes in him (though it’s the maid and not the butler in this case) and he’s got access to lots of money and his own version of the Batcave.

He’s also a rich playboy and he’s using that persona to help out his crusade.  Of course, it’s going to create some angst between he and the woman he pined for on the island for five years (despite sleeping with her sister and bringing her aboard the yacht where she met her ultimate doom).   But what road to romance in a superhero show has ever gone smooth?   I hope in the case of Arrow that the producers don’t decide to go the route of Lois Lane or Lana from Smallville and have her be intelligent but complete blind to figuring out that Oliver Queen equal the Green Arrow.   If he continues to pursue justice for clients that she’s helping that could be a big giveaway.  I could also live without the attempted triangle of Oliver, the girl he pined for and his best friend.  That was one element too many in what was a fairly busy pilot.    That and the fact that the head cop is also the father of his love interest and her sister and apparently holds a grudge.  Maybe a few details should have been saved for future installments.

But it was a pilot that intrigued me enough to want to come back next week and see how this all unfolds.

Nashville — Pilot

Heading into Nashville, there were two hooks.  One is the Connie Britton, who I’ve been a fan of since her Spin City days, and the other was the fact that it’s filmed in a city that I live and work in.  That means I spent a lot of the pilot just checking off various places I’ve visited during my time in Music City USA and seeing how they were incorporated into the show.

I’ll give the show credit–as an hour long, high definition advertisement for Nashville, I think it’s a huge success.    I also will admit that I believe I caught the voice of evening WSM announcer Eddie Stubbs early in the pilot as Rayna played at the Grand Ole Opry.

Just for looking for those types of things alone, Nashville will be worth spending an hour or so a week watching.

Factor in Connie Britton, who owns the part of Rayna five minutes into the pilot and you’ve got me hooked.

I’m not part of the country music industry but I feel fairly confident in saying that the show isn’t exactly giving up a realistic portrayal of things.   I’m sure things are exaggerated a bit and soaped up for a night time drama, but I have to admit it’s all so instantly addictive and intriguing that I just don’t care.

The instant rivalry of Ryana and Juliette has some fertile ground.  Wisely the show gives us reason to understand why both of these women are so driven.   Ryana feels like she’s built the record company that is asking her to step aside for the younger generation and Juliette is trying to escape her past.  The fact that she’s willing to use every wile she has to do so and isn’t above using men to get where she wants to go kind of casts in the role of villain early on.  But I like that the show is willing to let us understand a bit of what motivates her.   And while much of how she acts isn’t genuine, I felt the moment when she first met Deacon and expressed her admiration for his album rang true and wasn’t just pandering or sucking up.  Of course, it quickly turned as she set her sights on him, throwing all of her wiles at him.

How all of this will play into the campaign for mayor remains to be seen. But the show seems to have put enough dirt out there that this could be an interesting one to watch.  It has all the potential in the world to burn bright for a bit–but it could also burn out quickly.  Until that time, I think I’ll just sit back and enjoy the ride.

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1 Comment

Filed under non-book, review, tv reviews

One response to “TV Thoughts: Arrow, Nashville

  1. Really interested in the Arrow..going to tune in and see what it is like..I never was a huge Smallville fan either!

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