charming lead that doesn’t angst constantly, doesn’t piss and moan about always needing to take the moral high ground, consistently listens to and values his team, has great character development, learns from his mistakes.
relatable, honest, sweet natured female lead, doesn’t let anyone talk down to her, stands up for herself, refuses to be treated with disrespect and has great chemistry with counter-part.
valued POC character, not used as a token, voice of reason and goodness on the show, backbone of show tbh, decent, loyal, hilarious, takes no shit, and no prisoners, gonna be a papa.
kickass Canary with issues that are examined and actually discussed on show, casually revealed is bisexual in canon, no baiting, just is, moved on, character not sidelined, didn’t die because of girl kissing, or boy kissing, went on to be actual person. i only mention the bisexuality as a plot point because it is important to me, as a person frustrated by bi-erasure (see Buffy, Glee, let’s not even go there with Teen Wolf’s laughable attempt).
this team doesn’t become a team over night. this team doesn’t say “okay now we’re all bros yay let’s be a team!” this team works hard, learns to trust one another, isn’t actually perfect, but they have each other’s backs ever step of the way, EACH OF THEM IS CARED FOR BY THE OTHER TWO. DO YOU KNOW HOW GREAT IT IS THAT DIGGLE AND FELICITY ARE FRIENDS, AND DIGGLE AND OLIVER ARE FRIENDS, AND OLIVER AND DIGGLE ARE FRIENDS, AND ALL OF THEM TALK TO ONE ANOTHER, AND LEARN FROM ONE ANOTHER, AND PROTECT ONE ANOTHER? no one-sided behaviour from this pack. team.
Oliver & Felicity, one of the first unplanned, unexpected pairings//dynamics that fans fell in love with, to ever actually be acknowledged and encouraged by the writers (in my experience, again), rather than dismissed or shied away from. Stefan & Caroline have taken six seasons, and even now it’s begrudging. Dan & Blair took four, and then were decimated by bitter writers, Stiles & Derek have been totally SHIT ON by their writers, Oliver & Felicity are, if nothing else, accepted as an important, significant dynamic, and remain so.
underline in your head three times the fact that there are so many women on the show, written well, written in positions of power (Moira, Amanda, China, Lyla), written with struggles (Sara, Laurel, Thea), written with heart (Sin, Felicity, Shado), and whether the’re kickass, or sweet and careful, they have purpose and are given stories and if they are no longer needed, they don’t necessarily get iced, or dropped like that, they retreat, the writers regroup for them. the main deaths on the show before the finale actually add up to more male characters having died. which is rad if you like your ladies alive. i mean, sure, men are great but i’m attached to my ladies and it’s great they mostly get to stay alive on this show.
sure it’s cheesy, it’s DC. idc. for me, the pros outweigh the cons, and i’ve watched a lot of CW shows, i’ve watched shows that have no enigmatic leads (90210, jeez), shows that give throw away mentions to important characters and nothing else, shows that ice their females because they’re bored or they’re in the way or they plain don’t know what to do with them (Bonnie Bennett, Anna, VICKY), and tbh, like, Arrow is strong for the cw because it’s closer to the fandom, it pays attention to the fans, it doesn’t take itself to seriously, it’s got great dynamics— they all talk to each other and share info for a start, nobody would go missing for four months on Arrow, Felicity Smoak would find them), and the deal with bigger issues than “oh no i love a girl//boy and she//he doesn’t love me back,” which, Gossip Girl, One Tree Hill AND TVD boil down to if you look real hard past the basketball and endless parties. why does no one go to school on these shows.
OTHER GREAT THING? QUESTIONS LIKE THAT? GET ANSWERED. “WHY ARE WE NOW IN A NEW LOCATION? BECAUSE WE MADE AN EXTRA SAFE SPACE JUST IN CASE. HOW CAN I AFFORD TO PAY FOR THIS? SHIT, I CAN’T, I HAVE TO GET A JOB. WAIT A MINUTE, HOW THE FUCK DOES OLIVER KNOW RUSSIAN? HERE ARE SEVERAL FLASHBACKS WHERE HE LEARNS, INTEGRATED INTO THE PLOIT. easy peasy.)
tl;dr, i like Arrow because it’s easy to watch, endlessly entertaining, and it doesn’t make me grit my teeth in frustration ever two minutes. also i have massive crushes on Stephen, David, and Emily. but nobody says you have to like it? this is just my blog, where i like my show, for my reasons.
All of this. And I just need to emphasize again how well this show treats its (huge range) of female characters. That’s amazing for any TV show these days, and especially a COMIC BOOK SHOW WITH A MALE LEAD. This genre is especially apt to exclude women and side-line them and treat them as one-dimensional love interests and kill them to generate man-pain for the main male character.
They have consistently done an excellent job of NOT doing those things. The female characters are diverse (in characterization if not always in race, though it’s not completely whitewashed either), they have agency, MORAL COMPLEXITY!!! (i can’t stress how rare that is, and how well they do it) and are often flawed without being treated as incompetent or as heinous bitches for not being perfect.
Also, I would especially emphasize the importance of Felicity Smoak who was a character invented by the show (i.e. was not in the comics originally), was only supposed to be a one-off in a single episode, but because she was so compelling they pretty quickly made her into one of the core, main characters of the series, and it was recently announced she would be made part of the Arrow comic book series going forward. (She is also now considered the main love interest of the lead, incidentally) The ultimate point being that a) they created an interesting, complex new female character b) expanded her presence and importance when she turned out to be narratively appealing c) gave her so much space to shine that DC is planning to make her canon in the comic books!!!! (And DC is notorious for favoring the menz)
If the story isn’t interesting to you, I get that. Comic book shows aren’t for everyone. But Arrow is actually a profoundly well done comic book TV series, and it’s fantastic treatment of its female characters alone makes it worthwhile to me. Plus, next to Teen Wolf, they are very good with the gratuitous half-naked sweaty men work out scenes. (There’s one in almost every episode) Has a lot of eye-candy for people who are male-inclined.