'Arrow': 6 things to know about tonight's premiere

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The CW’s Arrow is not only the network’s best new show, it’s also one of the the best freshman fall shows on any network. Is it a CW bite-sized hoodie-wearing version of Batman Begins? A bit. But if you’re going to be inspired by a superhero origin movie, that’s a great place to start. Below are six things to know about The Green Arrow’s return to TV tonight:

1. He’s just called Arrow: Though Arrow is based on The Green Arrow comic books, showrunners Marc Guggenheim and Andrew Kreisberg have shortened the character’s name, reportedly to sound less comic-book-ish.

2. He’s not a liberal. The DC Comics version of Arrow is famously considered a very left-wing character. Kreisberg told critics last July that some of that sensibility will remain, noting “there are some echoes of the One Percenters and Occupy Wall Street within the show.” But star Stephen Amell later told EW that the “liberal” tag was overblown by the media. “I think it’s a mistake to say Oliver Queen is a liberal superhero targeting the wealthy,” Amell says. “He’s targeting people who abuse their powers. Now is that mostly going to be the wealthy? Sure. Is Arrow a Democrat? Absolutely not. Is he a Republican? No, he’s not that either. He’s an idealist. And he’s going after a certain type of person, not a certain class of people.”

3. The island flashbacks will continue through the entire series. Flashbacks showing how a callow young rich kid became a lethal crime fighter will be a major part of the show. “The Arrow is the only character I can think of who can sustain a 5-year origin story — because of the island,” Guggenheim says. “The last episode of the series will be Arrow seeing the [rescue] boat in the pilot.” Now that’s proving you know your story — a producer that will actually tell you what’s in the series finale before the first episode airs!

4. Arrow plays rough. He’s not like Superman or Batman with some firm (and, let’s face it, impractical) moral code against killing psychopathic criminals. Arrow isn’t out to hurt anybody, but if he’s forced to defend himself, he’s not going to aim for your legs. “Every hero’s actions are influenced by his origin story,” Guggenheim says. “For Bruce Wayne [Batman], seeing his parents murdered with gun violence left him with this code that death is not necessary. For Oliver, his experience happened on this island. It’s a very violent and dark place where other men lost their lives and their souls. He’s a moral man and a good man and he believes in justice but the tools he uses to weed out justice are heavily honed by the crucible of his time on the island …Arrow has a popcorn feel about it, but we’re trying to be real about the story we’re telling.”

5. Two major new characters will be introduced in future episodes: Arrow will eventually meet a mysterious fellow millionaire played by Torchwood‘s John Barrowman, and encounter one DC Comics’ ferocious females — The Huntress, a mob boss’ vengeful daughter, played by Aussie TV actress Jessica De Gouw.

6. Keep an eye on Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy): In the comics, Arrow’s former flame eventually morphs into his crime-fighting partner Black Canary (guess the name Robin was taken). Producers haven’t confirmed this will likewise happen in the show, but we say it’s a safe bet. “Everyone wants to know when Laurel turns into the Black Canary,” Cassidy says. “And will there be fishnets.”

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