BLOG Is Arrow Best Viewed In A Vacuum?
I know a lot about a lot of genre things, but no one can be familiar with everything. There are some things that have simply flown under my radar through the years. Such is the case with Green Arrow. All I knew about this guy before watching his latest incarnation on television was that he and Green Lantern were very much not the same guy. (Give me some credit, folks, I said he flew under my radar, not that I lived in a cave.)
Thus, I’m watching Arrow with a nearly-completely clean slate. I say nearly-completely because while I was always a Marvel girl, I did spend some time as a kid with The Flash, and no one escapes Batman. So the occasional reference to other DC locations and such in Arrow does make me smile, because I get the joke. Otherwise, though, I’m as fresh as new snow when it comes to Green Arrow. I am unburdened by canon, and I have made a startling discovery: I like that – a lot.
It’s nice to watch a show without any sort of preconceived notions about it. I don’t know if Arrow is faithful to the comics because I’ve never read one. I don’t get worked up about variations and different takes on the characters because I have no scale for comparison. Now, I try very hard to treat each iteration of a thing as a separate entity, and I like to think I do a pretty good job of that, but even when I try my best, there’s always a part of me that’s constantly comparing whatever I’m seeing on my screen to whatever I think should be on my screen based on my previous exposure to the source material. So, most of the time I’m disappointed by whatever “fresh take” I’m watching because it can’t live up to my expectations. Even when I’m not, though – even when the reboot or new series or whatever is actually good or somehow even better than the original – I still spend half my time watching it analysing it too much to just sit back and enjoy the show on its own.
And that sort of takes away the point of just kicking back and watching TV, doesn’t it? I think it might. I didn’t realise this until Arrow pointed it out to me. Or rather, until the Arrow fandom pointed it out to me by nitpicking a few things to death. I’m grateful to Arrow (and its fandom) for that, because I’m going to try a lot harder to turn off my inner fangirl when I watch things I’m more familiar with from now on. Things are just simply more fun that way. And I think I’m going to try more new things, too.
Try it for yourself
How about you? Why not give something you’ve never heard of a shot? You might find it’s quite a lot of fun, like I have. And who knows? Maybe you’ll decide you love that new thing and decide to track down every last bit of canon you can so that you can become a nitpicking expert. I think that’s ace. But maybe you’ll find that it’s okay not to know everything, and just sit back and enjoy the show as a more casual fan. Know what? That’s okay, too. Because no one can be an expert on everything, and just as there’s a place in this world for solidly mediocre television, there’s a place for fans that are unburdened by canon.
Now, I’ll admit that I have occasionally sneered at this idea, and quietly grumbled about fans who only knew the movie versions of [insert character here] but that was wrong of me. That’s nothing more than genre snobbery. Everyone has to start somewhere, and there’s something to be said for seeing things with unbiased eyes. Seriously, it’s a lot more fun that way.
Oh, and for the record, I don’t think Arrow is a great show. I think it’s a good show that’s trying to be great, but isn’t quite there. We shall see what the future holds, but for now, I’m in.
So come join me on the couch. I’ll bring the popcorn, and you pick the movie, okay? I’m sure there’s something else out there I know nothing about. Bring it on.
• Read our Arrow reviews