The first season of the TV series Arrow was very enjoyable. It had good action (if a little unrealistic—there were several far-fetched moments where Oliver Queen, a normal dude, dodged bullets being shot from a handful of feet away), decent characterization, and interesting plots.
However, as the show continued, it devolved into something of a soap opera. There were forbidden romances, dead people discovered to not really be dead, fathers discovered to not really be fathers, and a farrago of further dramatic garbage. It focused far too much on half-developed characters. Even in season two action decreased dramatically, it centered largely around the romances, and it became, in general, less enjoyable.
Laurel transitioned quickly from a strong female character into a fragile, messed up, unemployed alcoholic with a drug addiction. She was never my favorite, but I could respect her firmness and intelligence in her field. They gave a good reason for it; she had a traumatic, life-changing experience. I think that it’s both reasonable and even interesting to show that not all of these characters can just shrug off being kidnapped or almost dying. But they showed too much of her, and she was growing into an annoying waif.
It wasn’t just her character that grew less bearable as the show continued. Thea and Roy, separately or together, constantly complained in a painfully childish way. Their incessant whining, need to get their way, and impression that the world revolved around them became intolerable in the second season. The latter is understandable (still just as unbearable) for Thea, but Roy grew up as a penniless crook. He feels more like a petulant, rich pretty boy than a street tough.
And the character Sarah was ridiculous all around. She survived the ocean as Oliver did, but he had supplies. She had absolutely nothing—the show doesn’t even explain how she obtained the foliation device. Unrealistic survival aside, she comes back home as the Black Canary, but doesn’t show her face to her family.When she is later discovered to be Sarah, she starts dating Oliver again. Which was how she got into this whole mess in the first place.
Also, the actress that plays her in the second season doesn’t even remotely resemble the actress that played her in the first season. She’s blond. The first actress had brown hair. She has a squarish jaw, whereas the original actress had a more almond face, like Laurel. Caity Lotz, who played Canary/Sarah in the second season, acted terribly. Everything about her was distractingly stiff, from the way she walked and even the way she spoke. This took away from both the plot and the characters, yanking you out of the show with whiplash-inducing severity.
My favorite character in the show was Felicity Smoak, John Diggle the runner-upper. She was smart, sweet and contributed greatly to the plot line. Without her help, Oliver would take twice the time to accomplish half as much. With her skills in computer hacking and tracking, she finds the targets and can narrow down locations to exact coordinates. She does very little in-field work, but (even though I like Diggle’s character) she tends to be the most helpful of Oliver’s team.
So, while I liked the show, it had far to much drama for me. With less dramatics, no Sarah, and more actions, it could have been an amazing show. But the added soap opera elements mixed with watered-down characters prevents me from suffering through another season.