“Arrow”: The Complete First Season is off to a good start and I can’t wait to see what the second season brings between the drama and new characters to help expand the universe even further.
Genre(s): Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy
Warner Bros. | NR – 972 min. – $69.97 | September 17, 2013
Directed by: Various
Writer(s): Greg Berlanti & Marc Guggenheim & Andrew Kreisberg (developed by)
Cast: Stephen Amell, Katie Cassidy, Willa Holland, Susanna Thompson, David Ramsey, Paul Blackthorne, Colin Donnell
Features: Featurettes, Deleted Scenes, Gag Reel, DVD Copy, Digital Copy
Number of Discs: 9
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.78
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Disc Size: Various
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A, B, C
THE MOVIE – 4.0/5
Plot Outline: After being marooned for five years on a remote island, billionaire Oliver Queen (STEPHEN AMELL) comes home with a mysterious agenda and lethal new skills to fight crime in Starling City. Wearing the dark hood of a “vigilante” archer, Oliver’s fiercely determined to right the wrongs of his father and thwart those who’ve corrupted his city. But his crusade is complicated by his own family’s dark secrets involving his own mother (SUSANNA THOMPSON), a best friend’s (COLIN DONNELL) unwitting ties to evil, and the woman (KATIE CASSIDY) but betrayed in his earlier life.
Oliver can’t do it alone and receives help, reluctant at first, from personal bodyguard John Diggle (DAVID RAMSEY) hired by his mother and techie extraordinaire Felicity Smoak (EMILY BETT RICKARDS) who works for the IT department at Oliver Consolidated headed by Walter Steele (COLIN SALMON), Oliver’s step-father, much to his dismay as he found out upon his return home.
Quick Hit Review: The contrast between DC Comics on television and DC Comics in feature film is striking. Although I didn’t mind Man of Steel, I do acknowledge the screenplay had a lot to be desired and some of the decisions being made for its sequel hasn’t squelched any concerns especially with Zach Snyder still at the helm, though Ben Affleck bringing Chris Terrio involved is a slight bright spot.
In any case, between “Arrow”, the upcoming “Gotham” and “Flash” TV projects (with the former on Fox, latter on the CW), it appears the television division has their act together more so than the film department, and I do include “Smallville” as a success story despite many issues that series had.
Now with “Arrow”, it presents and establishes a darker vision and version of Oliver Queen than seen in “Smallville”. Stephen Amell is amazing in the lead role and shows layers of a character that could easily one-dimensional or even an offshoot of Bruce Wayne in Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. But thanks to a multilayered story taking us back and forth in time from present day to his time on the island where he’s trained by Yao Fei (BYRON MANN) and also is accosted and tortured by the villain Deathstroke (JEFFREY C. ROBINSON).
The first season establishes and builds a near perfect foundation for what hopefully will be a long-running series that not only gives fans orgasms with cameos by named characters from DC Comics lore but also have strong and three-dimensional characters we love (or hate). Amell for his part is great and Katie Cassidy makes for a wonderful love interest Laurel Lance along with veteran character actor Paul Blackthorne (“The Dresden Files”) as quasi adversary Detective Quantin Lance, Laurel’s father who hardly approves of Oliver, and for good reason, since he blames him for the death of his other daughter, presumed killed on the Queen yacht.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 3.5/5
As with other recent Warner Blu-rays, this 9-disc set (4 Blu-rays, 5 DVDs) comes housed in an extra wide HD Keep Case and a side-sliding matted slip cover. Along with an episode guide and the DVD Copies, there is also a paper with the download code for the UltraViolet Digital Copy.
Deleted Scenes (14:19; HD) – ‘Pilot’ (1:58), ‘Honor Thy Father’ (3:56), ‘Lone Gunmen’ (2:00) and ‘Damaged’ (6:25)
Deleted Scenes (2:32; HD) – ‘Muse of Fire’ (1:05) and ‘Vertigo’ (1:27)
Deleted Scenes (2:18; HD) – ‘The Huntress Returns’
Arrow Comes Alive (29:35; HD) is a fairly comprehensive overview on the development of the series and features interviews with the cast and crew as they discuss the characters and taking the comic book character to the small screen.
Arrow: Fight School/Stunt School (18:53; HD) – From expertly choreographed fights, to the stunt work, “Arrow” takes aim to present the best that television can offer. Experience the extraordinary effort that goes into each stunt sequence.
Gag Reel (2:28; HD) gives us the usual flubbed lines and on-set goofing around.
Deleted Scenes (6:30; HD) – ‘Home Invasion’ (1:14), ‘The Undertaking’ (1:44) and ‘Sacrifice’ (3:32)
VIDEO – 4.5/5
“Arrow”: The Complete First Season shoots its way onto Blu-ray presented in its original television broadcast aspect ratio (1.78) and with a 1080p high-definition transfer. I went back and forth with the rating because at times, such as the flashback scenes, and many others in present day, looks pretty darn good with optimal amount of grain which enhances detail levels. However, other scenes do give off that cheaper television feel. Still, colors do appear nicely balanced moving more towards darker hues which show no signs of artifacts, banding or pixilation.
AUDIO – 4.25/5
Each episode comes equipped with a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track which shows off quite well with clear dialogue coming through the center channel while the action-adventure music makes good use of the front and, especially, rear speakers. Now, I wouldn’t call this an amazing lossless track but it’s most certainly a big upgrade over the standard 5.1 channel track during the airing.
French, Spanish and Portuguese Dolby Digital tracks also included.
OVERALL – 4.0/5
Overall, “Arrow”: The Complete First Season is off to a good start and I can’t wait to see what the second season brings between the drama and new characters to help expand the universe even further. Amell seems to have been the perfect person to cast as Oliver Queen and the addition of Katie Cassidy and David Ramsey are both great supports in a series that is nicely established. The Blu-ray released by Warner offers up excellent video and audio transfers while the bonus material is fine but could’ve been more expansive.