Now that Arrow is in the rearview mirror, some fans will look back on the progenitor of The Arrowverse with some degree of fondness. But sadly, many will look back at the show with scrutiny, as not only was the show flawed, it was far from faithful to the comics.
Regardless of how divorced Arrow’s Oliver Queen was from his comic book counterpart, the show had several other problems that fans seem to want to ignore. Now that the show is gone, perhaps it is time that fans remove their rose-colored glasses and see the show’s many flaws laid bare.
Don’t get it twisted, The Dark Knight Trilogy was a great series of superhero movies, but there came a point where Arrow took way too many cues from Christopher Nolan’s trilogy. Not only did this mean that Oliver was a poor man’s Batman, but it truly hampered the show’s storytelling potential.
Transforming characters like Count Vertigo, Solomon Grundy, Brick, and Brother Blood into boring, normal people stripped them of the fun appeal the comics offered them. Also trying to emulate Nolan’s style with a fraction of the budget cut the show off at the knees.
Deathstroke proved that Arrow more or less peaked in the second season in the villain department, as the show’s villains got weaker as the show went on. Ra’s Al Ghul, Damien Darhk, Ricardo Diaz, and the like were nowhere near as interesting as their one-eyed predecessor.
The closest the show ever got to recapturing that Deathstroke magic was with Prometheus in Season Five, but even he had his issues. Turning one of the best examples of “Evil Batman” into a clone of Malcolm Merlyn made the character less visually interesting.
Season One of Arrow has its problems, but Malcolm Merlyn was a great villain. Though he was nothing like he is in the comics, John Barrowman’s natural charisma made his scenes in Season One a highlight of the entire show.
With that being said, Malcolm stayed on the show a bit too long. When they resurrected the character in Season Two, it was a step in the wrong direction, as Malcolm’s appearances in later Arrowverse stories proved to be a case of diminishing returns.