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Picks and Pans Main: TV

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CW, Wednesdays, 8 p.m. ET/PT |


This superhero adventure, about a hooded crime-fighter who announces his presence with the zzzhwoop! and thwack! of perfectly aimed arrows, is the CW’s best show since Gossip Girl arrived in 2007. Based on a DC Comics character, it has a forthright narrative seriousness, a respect for the gobbledygook that makes up any superhero’s backstory-and a game cast performing with the correct degree of seriousness (which means not too). Stephen Amell is Oliver Queen, a playboy just returned to normal life: Presumed dead in a shipwreck that claimed the life of his billionaire papa, he actually washed ashore on a mysterious island. There, some kind of shaman-instructor disciplined him in the skills that, when he’s finally found alive, allow him to assume Arrow’s solemn identity. Amell doesn’t do enough with the playboy-hero duality, but given that he has the looks of a fighter pilot turned male model, he’s still doing plenty. Besides, Susanna Thompson as his duplicitous mama and Katie Cassidy, playing a lawyer who happens to be his angry ex-lover, are right on target.