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9 Reasons Arrow Is Going Seriously Downhill

List RulesVote up the points you agree with and vote down the points you disagree with.

The CW's Arrow was a cultural phenomenon when it burst onto the scene in 2012. It was the first comic book property to translate that Dark Knight, DC Comics grittiness to the small screen; it didn't hurt that the chiseled and brooding Stephen Amell was the face of it. Men and women, boys and girls, cats and dogs all flocked to it. And in its first couple seasons, there was real drama, real poignancy. 

Alas, the poignancy has faded into that darkness Oliver keeps yammering on about. Arrow has become stale. The network, showrunners, and writers have tried different tactics in the last few seasons to breathe new life into the show, but most have ironically missed the mark. Get it? Because Oliver never misses his mark? Whatever. Just read through these critiques of Arrow's current state and vote up those you agree with. If you're ready to move on to something new, maybe you'll find that magic again with our list of shows like Arrow.

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  • 5
    212 VOTES

    The Dialogue Is Complete Crap

    Photo: The CW

    Okay, the dialogue has improved from Season 4, but the bar had been set pretty low. It would have been one thing if they just used the word "mystical" 1,000 times—as they did—but the writers had to double down with "darkness." Know how many times Oliver said that word last season? 10,000. Approximately. "There's a darkness inside me"; "This darkness is consuming me"; "I'm losing myself to the darkness"; "Darkness, darkness, darkness, dark side." Although the dialogue has indeed improved in Season 5, it's still lacking in a big way. Felicity has become a prop. She used to be one of the best characters, but at some point, they stopped giving her actual lines and turned her into a quip-machine. And Oliver's refrain, "You have failed this city," is starting to lose its gravitas. Correction: It lost it three seasons ago.

    Admittedly, the innuendo about Curtis's balls in episode 15 of Season 5 has earned the writers a little trust back. Keep the testicle taunts coming and you'll be out of the doghouse in no time. Or donghouse, as it were.

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    166 VOTES

    Fight Sequences Have Lost Their Fight

    Photo: The CW

    There was a lengthy fight scene between Speedy and Damien Darhk in Season 4 that was actually quite impressive. It was Arrow’s version of the Daredevil hallway fight. To be clear, the two are not remotely comparable. But it was as close as The CW can get. Now, the fights have just lost all their oomph. Episode 14 of Season 5 tried to stage an epic fight between Team Arrow and Cupid, China White, Liza Warner, and a horde of civilians—but it felt like just that: staged. Oliver shot exploding arrows at civilians. Oliver. Shot. EXPLODING. Arrows. At. Civilians. In what world?! It was pretty hilarious when Curtis got dropkicked, though. He seems to be the butt of all the jokes in Season 5. Or at least the balls.

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    142 VOTES

    The Suspension Of Disbelief Is Gone

    Photo: The CW

    Season 4's mysticism damaged Arrow. Sure, had it been introduced subtly, maybe it wouldn’t have undermined the show’s believability. But it was so heavy-handed and so cheesy! Vixen did not do them any favors. Was it even possible to hold in a laugh when those clouds of animals sprang from her body to simply knock bad guys to the ground? "Oh look, Darhk fell down. I guess we can handcuff him now." Apparently, Oliver should have just tried tripping him earlier. Unfortunately, Arrow has actually gotten back to its roots in Season 5, with more martial arts and less magic, but the genie’s out of the bottle.

    For whatever reason, superpowers are much easier to accept, so The Flash and Supergirl don’t suffer from this phenomenon. Or perhaps it’s because those shows were billed as such from the get-go, while Arrow forced these elements in too far down the line. Whatever the reason, it’s hard to take much of anything seriously anymore. In reality, Arrow lost something a while ago. It was probably when Malcolm Merlyn started materializing out of corners with entire squadrons of assassins in rooms already populated by Team Arrow. 

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  • 8
    161 VOTES

    The Flashbacks Are An Afterthought

    Photo: The CW

    Many fans were so excited at the beginning of Season 5 because the flashbacks of Oliver’s gauntlet beyond Star City were finally going to collide with the point in time when the series began. Finally, the strain of actively ignoring that preposterous wig will have paid off! That’d be great if the flashbacks weren't so lame. Part of the problem is that his Bratva connections aren’t particularly believable; part of the problem is that nothing particularly interesting has been revealed. Sure, Talia al Ghul is apparently the one who convinced him to don the green hood. Cool. Doesn’t make that much sense, but cool.

    There’s much less of a narrative (or at least intrigue) in this season’s flashbacks than in the past. There are some ramifications of his time then affecting his experience now, as is Arrow’s paradigm, but the stakes and implications are far less substantial than, say, his experience with Slade Wilson on Lian Yu in Season 2 and the future consequences associated therein. Still, it remains to be seen if something profound will be revealed. What are they going to do in Season 6, though? Oh no. They’re going to start flashing forward to Old Man Oliver gallivanting with the Legends of Tomorrow buffoons, aren’t they? What did we do to deserve this?!

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