Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Introducing New Characters Into An Ongoing Series

By Eilis Flynn

I have been pretty open about my unexpected fondness for the TV show ARROW. Of course, I became unexpectedly fond of it when a news report on the first episode referred to a character as a “wealthy billionaire.” I laughed and giggled like mad and of course, asked my husband, who was at this point staring at me as though I’d gone mad, if I could meet a “poor” billionaire. And after that, I looked forward to new episodes for other such silly bits, until I just found myself looking forward to the show, period. Somewhere along the way, I went from looking forward to it for the sake of mockery to looking forward to it for itself.

Of course, part of the fun—at least for me; my husband still thinks I’ve gone off my rocker, because he’s not nearly as fond of the show as I am, but then he doesn’t watch the show for not only linguistic silliness, but also half-dressed, extremely buff men doing buff-men type things—I mean, he watches it for the PLOT, such as it is. Yeah, I can’t quite believe it myself.

Anyway, part of the fun is the over-the-top opera-like drama. On this show, the characters do everything except sing arias about opera-like things. They’re very dark and somber and considering how often people keel over dead (just like in many operas, come to think of it), they deserve to be dark and somber. It’s a little bit opera, a little bit Hamlet, come to think of it.

Now, with all the dark and somberness, we hear that there will be a ray of breezy sunlight coming to this CW version of an opera. (Hey, hubby, if you’re reading this, as I know you do, you may want to stop reading at this point, because I’m going to reveal something about the show for the coming year. And I know you hate spoilers!) To this story of “wealthy billionaire” Oliver Queen, depressed, suffering from PTSD, guilt-ridden, and probably more than a little troubled, the show is adding another character from the DC Entertainment universe, but in contrast to the dark Ollie (aka “the Vigilante”) Queen, it’s going to be Barry “the Flash” Allen, a character who is (in virtually all his incarnations) bright and cheery, as bright and cheery as the red and yellow uniform he eventually dons. Maybe all that cheeriness will be a touch diminished for the sake of the darkness that swirls around this show (instead of the pun-loving, chili-making, girlfriend/wife-adoring character I’m familiar with, he’s going to be hunting for something or other), but he’s still going to be brighter than most everybody else, I assume.

Now, this addition to the cast interests me, because the last thing I heard, the character was being prepped for a feature film somewhere down the line. Now, they’re talking about spinning off the character, eventually, for another CW show, maybe not a film. Or maybe a film.

Now here’s the thing. When you have an established series, you also have an established feel to it. In this case, it’s the pseudo-operatic quality to the story. Introducing a basically breezy character confuses me here, because light draws attention from surrounding darkness, right? Here, it’s like introducing a rap song into an opera. It just seems...wrong. Mind you, I didn’t think ARROW sounded very promising at all when they announced its premiere. But I was wrong, and so maybe that single ray of sunlight will enhance instead of distract from the gloomy opera.

If they give me an occasional linguistic goofball and Felicity Smoak, I’ll be happy. Except, of course, I’ll ask what everyone is asking (I’m sure they’re asking. Of course they are): what about Wonder Woman? The CW network had been talking about a young Wonder Woman show, but they promptly shoved that under the rug when they came up with this idea. Introduce Diana Prince, for crying out loud! Why NOT?

Eilis Flynn can be found to argue with at Facebook, Twitter, or at her website at She likes to spend some idle moments thinking about super-heroes and some such.


  1. My favorite thing about Arrow is how few people recognize him when he's wearing the paint smears around his eyes. Kind of like Superman's glasses, I guess. I love all the movies they're doing based on comics so much. I want Jeremy Renner to get his own feature film. Loved him in Thor and the Avengers.

  2. I keep wondering about that paint smear: couldn't you get the same effect by fashioning a mask out of a few layers of netting kept together with spirit glue? That way, you can peel it off, roll it up, stick it into your pocket. Otherwise, he has to remember to wipe it off and he might forget one of these days! (I worry about this.)

    And I love Jeremy Renner's version of Hawkeye. He made a dull character something interesting! (I wasn't that fond of Tony Stark/Iron Man, so I was happy that they made him fun too. And I drooled over Thor. Must ... stop ... drooling...

  3. I loved Arrow until about 3 episodes from the end. All the characters, especially Stephen Aimel are great to look at but you're right it was just so unrelentingly dark. A bit of brightness might help, we'll see. I thought they were going to do something with that female character as a crusader for a while. You know what would be interesting is if the bad guy's son, whatshisname, ended up being Flash. He has the motivation and he's a "brighter" character.

  4. ...And Livia, that bad guy's son (SPOILER ALERT!) bought the farm. Bit the bucket. Was killed in the last minutes of the last episode. Pretty definitively. No, the impact of his death would be diminished if he could survive that wound. As it is, because we didn't see the absolute death of Laurel Lance's sister, I expect to see her show up. Because at heart, this show is a soap opera!