Five Reasons ‘Arrow’ Isn’t As Good As It Used To Be

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I want to start this article with a giant disclaimer: I love Arrow (check out my Twitter for proof, as about half my posts are somehow Arrow related). To this day, I haven’t missed an episode (even though it almost lost me during season three). Granted it wasn’t the first DC television show ever created, it was definitely the most influential in terms of universe expansion, as its success led to The Flash and (probably) Gotham, whose success in turn led to Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl, and now Black Lightning. Even Marvel’s Netflix series Daredevil seems to have taken some inspiration from the CW’s dark, grounded superhero drama.

With that being said, I sadly have to admit that after season two, Arrow‘s quality has declined significantly; and it’s not just my opinion, it seems to be the general consensus among Arrow fans over the age of 13. I still watch on a regular basis, and while season four has seen a slight improvement over its horrendous season three, it still is not living up to the standards it set for itself in seasons one and two, and unfortunately it probably never will. Check out the next few pages for my top five gripes with Arrow, and why I believe it isn’t as good as it used to be.

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Josh Behr

Josh Behr

Jack of some trades, master of some others. That saying never really made a lot of sense to me.

  • It’s nice to see a writer here actually being critical of one of these properties for a change. You guys just never do much criticism, which I think encourages the crazier commenters to treat their favorite properties like they’re actually flawless (and rabidly attack anyone with reasonable complaints). Criticism is so much more interesting than a never-ending fluffy tone.

    That said, reason number 3 wasn’t a legitimate point – especially not compared to the rest. Whatever you read online, that doesn’t affect the quality of the show.

    You were onto something when you mentioned the grave, though. The issue with teasing the grave at the beginning of the season is that the writers apparently didn’t know who would be in it at that point in time.

    After you know who died, the survivors really talked her up as some kind of special personality on the team. But the writers never did the necessary heavy lifting of actually showing her fill that role throughout the season. As a result, her death came as more of a whimper than a blow. Yeah, the show’s characters were upset by it, but we as the audience felt far less of the impact than we should’ve.

  • AlphaBlu

    “It’s just too bad it’s too late to go back to the awkwardly funny and quirky Felicity from season two.”

    That’s really the crux of the problems with Felicity. She was unbearable in Season 3 and somehow got worse in Season 4, and even if the show acknowledges that and tones back what an awful character she became we really can’t ever go back to what made us fall in love Felicity in Seasons 1 and 2.

    And you’re right that trying to keep up with The Flash was a mistake, but that said Season 2 of Flash was pretty terrible. Season 2 of Arrow it was not.

  • Simon

    You left out the ever diminishing returns of the flashbacks. Not only have they become frustratingly boring, they are down right useless.

  • SeeyAfro

    The CW suffers from an over-reliance on Tumblr to decide on what’s popular and what to focus and persist with their shows which is why Supernatural is still on even though it should’ve ended with season 5/6. And now Olicity has become the focus of the show because those two got shipped hard in the Tumblr-verse.

    In any case it could be too little too late to save this show. I tried finishing season 3 but couldn’t and left season 4 around half way. I don’t think I’ll return to this franchise. The Flash all the way.

    • xxjinzaxx

      This is probably more closer to the truth than any other reason why the show lost its consistency after each season. The ideas started as original, but then devolved into contrivances from the twitter suggestion box.

  • Gintoki79

    Very well written article. I hope Greg Berlanti wakes up, and does something the decline in arrow.

  • ClownPrinceOfTroll

    Well its 1 reason and one reason only dc/wb is ran by a bunch if amteurs.. which is why their tv verse is crap and they have the 2 worst rated cbms of 2016 via rt metacritics and imdb lol.

  • RCJ

    I think the biggest issue is that Oliver is a grounded non powers character and that Season 1 and 2 were basically gritty street level stories. Granted, Season 2 introduced powers with the Flash and Grundy and the serum that powered Slade. BUT most of that was contained to one episode and a power serum works in the sense of functioning like a super PED.

    Season 4 and Season 5 brought much more to the show in the way of super power and the super natural. The Lazurus Pit, magic in general. We veered way off of keeping the streets of Star City safe and into the implied version of keep the world safe from real super villains like Ra’s.

    Season 1 was excellent and personal. Stop crime, learn that your family friend wants to blow up the city. Season 2 had your ally from the island become an enemy and threaten you personally. After that it became more and more jumbled. Sometimes it was personal but off by degrees, sometimes it was just a super powered super villain that a guy with arrows shouldn’t be able to beat – oh but he learned about magic on the island guys.

    4 may have been better if they had killed Sarah and Nyssa had become the villain rather than Ra’s – and without Ollie going even further dark.

    This has been the biggest issue and they are supposedly learning that heading into this year – but we’ll see.

  • Felicity used to make the show more watchable for me, now she’s doing the opposite L_L I’m not blaming the actress or anything, it’s the writer’s fault.

  • Stelios Ioannou

    Love triangles were Arrow’s biggest problem since the beggining.Think about it…
    Oliver loves Laurel but cheats on her with her sister,then he falls for Felicity who first is interesting in Barry(who likes her but he has a crush on Iris who happens to have a relationship with her father’s and Barry’s partner(sigh!!)) but ends up with Ray for a while and then she leaves him because she was in fact in love with Oliver and decided to be with him(is anybody else thinking of “Beverly Hils 90210”? I know I am!!)
    Also,as much as I liked season two I couldn’t help but really dislike the fact that Slade became a villain and a foe of Oliver’s because of Shado’s death. I mean…seriously?He tried to destroy Starling City because of his grief for a woman who never was a couple with??? Really???

    • SeeyAfro

      You touched on an interesting element there. It’s why at times I am surprised comic book shows are on The CW which is mostly a channel that caters for young females, more than males. And it’s why I think love triangles become plot points when they really shouldn’t be.

      • Stelios Ioannou

        My thoughts exactly,my friend…

  • John

    The only thing I’d change is “Olicity” as THE NUMBER one reason the show declined. The 2nd would be the flashbacks. They became unbearable and useless to the story