Terry Morrow: Dark and dashing ‘Arrow’ hits a bull’s eye for the CW

Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) takes justice to a new and personal level on ”Arrow.”

Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) takes justice to a new and personal level on ”Arrow.”

Just when all seemed bleak for the struggling CW, along comes a hero to save the day.

“Arrow” (debuting 8 p.m. Wednesday, WBXX, Channel 20) is just the kind of champion the mini-network needed. It has an amazing, attractive cast, a promising premise and lots of harrowing action sequences.

But above it all, “Arrow” is the best new series that CW has ever launched and — if it continues to be as solid as the opener — one of the best in the entire freshman class from any network this season.

Don’t take this as too much of an oversell. “Arrow” has its flaws, inherent from the CW’s edict to have flash over substance and brainless conclusions to substitute for logic. There’s plenty of that here.

That goes along with the escapism of “Arrow” — the story of playboy Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) who, after five years of being trapped on an island, comes back to civilization a changed man. He’s bitter, cold and has one purpose: to track down the men behind stranding him.

He assumes the guise of a Robin Hood-like vigilante. He’s a little Spider-Man and a little Batman.

I’m disappointed the series is choosing to not refer to Queen’s other identity as Green Arrow (as they do in the comics). That takes some of the steam out of the story.

“Arrow” isn’t exactly full of laughs, but it’s not supposed to be. Maybe, eventually, it’ll be secure enough creatively to be a bit more relaxed.

The cast isn’t particularly outstanding, but the writers have them serve the story well. The hour rests solely on the shoulders of Amell, who’s up to the challenge, though he’s so cut and muscular it makes me wonder what 24-hour gym was open on that island.

Despite that, “Arrow” is a standout.

Score: 4 stars (out of five)

Terry Morrow may be reached at 865-342-6445 or morrowt@knoxville.com.

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