Arrow (TV series)

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Arrow (TV series)
Season one title card
Based on Characters
from DC Comics
Developed by
Composer(s) Blake Neely
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 7
No. of episodes 143 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
Production location(s) Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Glen Winter
  • Gordon Verheul
  • Gregory Middleton
  • C. Kim Miles
  • Corey Robson
  • Kristin Windell
  • Andi Armaganian
  • Paul Karasik
  • Jessie Murray
  • Thomas Wallerstein
  • Carol Slutz
Camera setup Single-camera
Running time 40–43 minutes
Production company(s)
Distributor Warner Bros. Television Distribution
Original network The CW
Picture format HDTV 1080i
Audio format Dolby Digital 5.1
Original release October 10, 2012 (2012-10-10) – present (present)
Related shows Arrowverse
External links
Official website
Production website

Arrow is an American superhero television series developed by writer/producers Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim, and Andrew Kreisberg that is based on the DC Comics character Green Arrow. The series premiered in the United States on The CW on October 10, 2012, with international broadcasting taking place in late 2012. Primarily filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Arrow follows billionaire playboy Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell), who, five years after being stranded on a hostile island, returns home to fight crime and corruption as a secret vigilante whose weapon of choice is a bow and arrow.

The series takes a new look at the Green Arrow character, as well as other characters from the DC Comics universe. Although Oliver Queen/Green Arrow had been featured in the television series Smallville from 2006 to 2011, on the CW, the producers decided to start clean and find a new actor to portray the character. Arrow focuses on the humanity of Oliver Queen, and how he was changed by time spent shipwrecked on an island. Most episodes in the first five seasons have flashback scenes to the five years in which Oliver was missing.[1] After Oliver's flashback arc is completed, episodes starting season seven have flash-forward scenes twenty years ahead focus on Oliver's previously unknown son William and aged protégé Roy Harper, exploring Green Arrow's legacy through them.  

Arrow has received generally positive reviews from critics. The series averaged about 3.68 million viewers over the course of the first season and received several awards and multiple nominations. To promote it, a preview comic book was released before the television series began, while webisodes featuring a product tie-in with Bose were developed for the second season. The first five seasons are available on DVD and Blu-ray in regions 1, 2 and 4; a series of soundtracks was also released.

In October 2014, a spin-off series entitled The Flash premiered.[2] In August 2015, an animated spin-off, Vixen, was released, while a second live-action spin-off, Legends of Tomorrow, premiered in January 2016, featuring several characters from Arrow and The Flash. All four shows are set in a shared universe collectively known as the Arrowverse. On April 2, 2018, The CW renewed the series for a seventh season, which premiered on October 15, 2018.[3][4]

Series overview

Season Episodes Originally aired Nielsen ratings
First aired Last aired Rank Average viewers
(in millions)
1 23 October 10, 2012 (2012-10-10) May 15, 2013 (2013-05-15) 130 3.68[5]
2 23 October 9, 2013 (2013-10-09) May 14, 2014 (2014-05-14) 128 3.28[6]
3 23 October 8, 2014 (2014-10-08) May 13, 2015 (2015-05-13) 135 3.52[7]
4 23 October 7, 2015 (2015-10-07) May 25, 2016 (2016-05-25) 145 2.90[8]
5 23 October 5, 2016 (2016-10-05) May 24, 2017 (2017-05-24) 147 2.21[9]
6 23 October 12, 2017 (2017-10-12) May 17, 2018 (2018-05-17) 181 1.76[10]
7 22[11] October 15, 2018 (2018-10-15) TBA TBA TBA

The series follows Oliver Queen, billionaire playboy of Starling City, who is discovered on the mysterious island of Lian Yu five years after he and his father were shipwrecked. Upon his return to Starling City, he is reunited with his mother, Moira Queen, his sister, Thea Queen, and his friends, Tommy Merlyn and Laurel Lance.

In the first season, Oliver rekindles relationships and spends nights as a hooded vigilante hunting wealthy criminals listed in his father's notebook. He uncovers Malcolm Merlyn's plot to destroy "The Glades", a poorer, crime-ridden section of the city. John Diggle and Felicity Smoak assist Oliver's crusade. Oliver also reconnects with old flame Dinah Laurel Lance, who blames him for her sister's death. The season features flashbacks to Oliver's first year on the island, and how it changed him, while trying to stop a mercenary force targeting the Chinese economy.[12]

In season two, Oliver has vowed to stop killing criminals. His family and allies are attacked by Slade Wilson, a man from Oliver's time on the island who returns to destroy his life. Oliver accepts aspiring vigilante Roy Harper as his protégé, and gains assistance from Laurel's father, Quentin. Oliver also teams with a woman in black, who is revealed to be Laurel's sister, Sara, who also survived the shipwreck. Flashbacks depict Oliver's continued time on the island with Slade, Sara, and the archer Shado, along with the origins of his feud with Slade.

In season three, Oliver's company Queen Consolidated is sold to businessman, scientist and aspiring hero Ray Palmer. After Sara is found murdered, Oliver becomes embroiled in a conflict with Ra's al Ghul. He struggles to reconnect with his sister, who knows Malcolm is her father, and Laurel sets out to follow Sara as the Black Canary. Meanwhile, Diggle struggles as a family man and Felicity becomes Vice President of Palmer Technologies (formerly Queen Consolidated). In flashbacks, Oliver is forced to work for A.R.G.U.S. leader Amanda Waller in Hong Kong; he and Tatsu Yamashiro work to stop corrupt general Matthew Shrieve from unleashing a pathogen, which Ra's al Ghul acquires in the present.

In season four, Oliver ends a short retirement and becomes the "Green Arrow". His team fights the terrorist group H.I.V.E., headed by the mystically enhanced Damien Darhk, who is attacking Star City (formerly Starling City). Diggle discovers his brother Andy is alive and a H.I.V.E. soldier; Thea works with Oliver as "Speedy", but with a violent temper; and Laurel attempts to resurrect Sara using the Lazarus Pit. Oliver's life as a vigilante and with Felicity are complicated by his mayoral run and the discovery of his son. Laurel dies in a fight with Damien, and Oliver discovers his plan to detonate nuclear weapons and rule the Earth's remains. In flashbacks, Oliver returns to Lian Yu to infiltrate Shadowspire for Waller, and encounters a mystical idol used by Darhk in the present-day narrative.

In season five, Oliver trains young heroes Wild Dog, Mister Terrific, Artemis, and Ragman to join his war on crime following Laurel's death and Thea's resignation. He also recruits a new Black Canary; former police detective Dinah Drake. Oliver tries to balance vigilantism with his new role as mayor, yet is threatened by the mysterious and deadly Prometheus, who has a connection to Oliver's past. Oliver is also forced to contend with Prometheus' ally Black Siren, a twisted doppelganger of Laurel Lance with a sonic scream. In flashbacks, Oliver joins the Bratva in Russia as part of a plot to assassinate Konstantin Kovar. There, he meets and is trained by Talia al Ghul, as a hooded archer, before returning to Lian Yu.

In season six, after an explosive battle on Lian Yu, Oliver must balance being a vigilante, the mayor, and a father to his son William. At the same time, new enemies emerge, initially led by hacker Cayden James, who puts together a team with drug dealer Ricardo Diaz, metahuman vigilante Vincent Sobel, Russian mobster Anatoli Knyazev, and Black Siren. As James loses control of his cabal, Ricardo Diaz comes to the fore, announcing to Green Arrow his scheme to take over Star City's criminal underworld and control the city's political infrastructure, all while Oliver must contend with his former teammates forming a rival team. As Diaz takes control of the city, Oliver is forced to recruit the aid of the FBI, in exchange for him publicly announcing his identity and going to federal prison. In the finale, Oliver is imprisoned in a supermax penitentiary.

In season seven, five months after Oliver's imprisonment, Diaz has recruited the Longbow Hunters, consisting of Kodiak, Silencer, and Red Dart for a new criminal agenda, including seeking revenge on Oliver's loved ones and allies. At the same time, the former members of the disbanded Team Arrow struggle to keep Star City safe without Oliver. Another hooded archer, being dubbed by the press as the new Green Arrow, emerges in Star City. The season features flash-forwards twenty years into the future to Oliver's son William's adulthood, where he seeks out an aged Roy Harper on Lian Yu, and they discover an instruction made by Oliver and Felicity at some point.

Cast and characters

  • Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen / Arrow / Green Arrow, a billionaire playboy turned hooded vigilante-hero who is initially known as the "Hood", "Vigilante", and simply "Arrow". He is based on the DC Comics character Green Arrow. He survives on an isolated island for five years after the sinking of his father's yacht. Oliver returns to his home city with a mission—to right the wrongs of his father and save the city from the crime that has grown in his absence. Amell was one of the first actors to audition for the role, and Kreisberg felt that he "hit the target from the outset" and "everyone else just paled in comparison".[1] The actor, who was already in shape from Rent-a-Goalie, did physical fitness training at Tempest Freerunning Academy in Reseda, California. Amell received archery training as well, which included watching a video on how archery has been displayed inaccurately or poorly in television and film before learning the basics of shooting a bow.[1][13] For Amell, the appeal of portraying Queen was that he saw multiple roles tied to the same character: "There's Queen the casual playboy; Queen the wounded hero; Queen the brooding Hamlet; Queen the lover; Queen the man of action, and so on".[1] Amell also portrays Oliver's Earth-X doppelganger, Dark Arrow in the sixth season crossover, Crisis on Earth-X.[14]
  • Katie Cassidy as Laurel Lance / Black Canary / Black Siren, based on the DC Comics character of the same name,[15][16] an attorney turned vigilante and former girlfriend of Oliver Queen. Cassidy said she was drawn to the show by Berlanti, Nutter, Kreisberg, and Guggenheim, whom she called smart, creative, and edgy.[17] Cassidy sees her character as a "caregiver" to her family, which led her to become an attorney. She said, "I think that she's very, very driven, and she has a huge heart ... she's sensitive. She has really strong morals and values, and she expects everybody to live up to them the way that she does".[18] The character dies near the end of the fourth season. Cassidy was promoted back to series regular for the sixth season, appearing as the Earth-2 version of the character, known as Black Siren,[19][20] who first appeared in spin-off show The Flash
  • Colin Donnell as Tommy Merlyn, Oliver's best friend,[21] the son of Malcolm Merlyn and boyfriend to Laurel Lance. Tommy dies at the end of the first season's finale. Donnell reprises his role in a hallucination during the second season, in flashbacks in the third season, and as Christopher Chance, the Human Target in the sixth season. He also portrayed his Earth-X doppelganger Prometheus in the sixth season crossover.
  • David Ramsey as John Diggle / Spartan,[22] Oliver's partner, confidant, and bodyguard, who becomes part of his vigilante team.[23] Named after comic book writer Andy Diggle, and created specifically for the show, Diggle was designed to be Oliver's "equal in many respects". Guggenheim further explained that Diggle's mutual abilities are a means of setting him up early in the series as a confidant for Oliver's vigilante persona.[24]
  • Willa Holland as Thea Queen / Speedy, Oliver's younger sister; based on a DC Comics character with similar traits.[25] The character is later revealed to be the daughter of Malcolm Merlyn. Holland exited the series in season six. Guggenheim stated that the door is always open for Holland to reprise her role as Thea.[26]
  • Susanna Thompson as Moira Queen, Oliver and Thea's mother.[27] She is murdered at the end of season two. Thompson reprises her role as Moira Queen, making two guest appearances in season five, one as a hallucination in the crossover event, Invasion! and in a flashback during the season finale.[28]
  • Paul Blackthorne as Quentin Lance, Laurel and Sara's father, and Starling City police detective.[29] The character is partly based on the DC Comics character, Larry Lance. The character dies in the season six finale.[30]
  • Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak / Overwatch,[31][32] originally an IT technician at Queen Consolidated who becomes part of Oliver's vigilante team. She later becomes Oliver's wife, and stepmother to his son William. Rickards was promoted to a series regular for season two, after being a recurring character throughout season one.[33] Describing the character's personality, Rickards stated "Felicity is really focused, and I think that focus can be overpowering. The whole bubbly/awkward thing is a product of the focus. I don’t think they’re parts on their own."[34]
  • Colton Haynes as Roy Harper / Arsenal, a character based on the DC Comics character of the same name.[35] He is also Thea Queen's romantic partner. Haynes was moved to series regular status at the beginning of season two, following his recurring appearance in the first season.[36] He left the series at the end of season three after his contract ended, and later appears as a guest star in the fourth and sixth seasons.[37] He later attributed his departure from the series to his mental and physical health at that time.[38] Haynes is set to return as a regular for the show's seventh season.[39]
  • Manu Bennett as Slade Wilson / Deathstroke, a mercenary and international terrorist. He is based on the DC Comics character of the same name.[40] Bennett was initially cast as a recurring character for season one,[40] before receiving series regular status during season two.[41] Bennet makes guest appearances as Slade in seasons five and six.
  • John Barrowman as Malcolm Merlyn / Dark Archer,[42] a wealthy businessman who is the father of Tommy Merlyn and Thea Queen. He serves as Oliver Queen's nemesis. He is based on the DC Comics character Merlyn. After being a recurring guest star for the first two seasons, Barrowman became a series regular in season three.[43] Barrowman reprised the role towards the end of season five, where his character's apparent death occurs off-screen.
  • Echo Kellum as Curtis Holt / Mister Terrific, based on the DC Comics character of the same name. Holt is a technological savant, inventor and medal-winning Olympic decathlete, who works with Felicity at Palmer Technologies.[44] Kellum was upgraded to series regular in the fifth season.[45]
  • Josh Segarra as Adrian Chase / Prometheus, based on the DC Comics characters Adrian Chase and Prometheus. Chase is the new Star City district attorney later revealed to be the arch-villain Prometheus.[46] Segarra made a guest appearance in the sixth season as a hallucination by Oliver.[47]
  • Rick Gonzalez as Rene Ramirez / Wild Dog, dishonorably discharged marine with has an estranged daughter who joins Oliver's vigilante team. He is based on the DC Comics character of the same name. Gonzalez was promoted to series regular from season six.[48]
  • Juliana Harkavy as Dinah Drake / Black Canary, an undercover detective in Central City who later joins Oliver's team, taking on the mantle of Black Canary. Harkavy was promoted to series regular from season six.[49]
  • Kirk Acevedo as Ricardo Diaz / Dragon: A drug lord recently released from incarceration who terroizes Star City, and targets Oliver Queen. Acevedo was promoted to series regular from season seven.[50]



On January 12, 2012, The CW was preparing a new series centered around the character Green Arrow, developed by Andrew Kreisberg, Greg Berlanti and Marc Guggenheim.[51] A week later, the series, now known as Arrow, was ordered to pilot, which was directed by David Nutter, who also directed the pilot for Smallville, a series following Clark Kent on his journey to become Superman.[52] At the end of the month, Stephen Amell was cast in the titular role of Oliver Queen.[53] When developing the series, producer Marc Guggenheim expressed that the creative team wanted to "chart [their] own course, [their] own destiny", and avoid any direct connections to Smallville, which featured its own Green Arrow/Oliver Queen (Justin Hartley), opting to cast a new actor in the role of Oliver Queen.[1] Unlike Smallville, the series does not initially feature super-powered heroes and villains. Instead, the team took inspiration from Smallville, as one of the main themes of Arrow was to "look at the humanity" of Oliver Queen, as Smallville had done with Clark Kent. The decision not to include superpowers was, in part, based on the executives' desire to take a realistic look at the characters in this universe.[54] Production on the pilot began in March 2012 in Vancouver,[55] which would continue to act as the primary filming location for the series.[1] The series' skyline shots use a combination of footage from Frankfurt, Germany, Center City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Maryland, Back Bay, Boston, and Tokyo, Japan.[56] The series was given a full season pick up on October 22, 2012.[57]

I think the idea is to—not all the time, and not with a set regularity—but I think it is critical to explore how he went from the person that he was when he left the island—which is extremely different: he's spoiled, he's entitled, he's a bit of a jerk—and he comes off it something very, very different. So we're going to explore how he gets there.[54]

– Stephen Amell on the use of flashback storytelling.

For the first five seasons Arrow features two storylines: one in the present, and the other, shown in flashback, during Oliver's time on the island five years before his rescue. These flashbacks are used to illustrate how Oliver transformed into the man that returns to Starling City.[54] Filming for the island flashbacks takes place in Vancouver's Whytecliff Park area, near beachfront homes. Much planning is required to keep the buildings out of camera frame.[58] Guggenheim said, "Stephen [Amell] has to wear a wig, and his look has to be changed ... there's a lot. It's actually incredibly ambitious to do these flashbacks every week, every single episode. Because like Andrew [Kreisberg] said, it's almost like it's its own show."[58] Regarding the flashbacks after the fifth season, Guggenheim and Mericle stated that the series would explore flashbacks from other character's perspectives, such as Curtis Holt, along with the possibility of flashfowards. Guggenheim said, "We still want to make [flashbacks] part of our storytelling, because we do like them. We like when those non-island flashbacks sort of illuminate what's going on in the present day. That'll always be a part of the show and a part of the show's storytelling structure. It just won't be telling a serialized story."[59]

The series develops relationship triangles: some love triangles, others designed to catch characters in "philosophical debates".[60] Kreisberg provides one such example: "Every week, Oliver will be facing a bad guy, but the truth is, his real nemesis is Detective Lance, who's trying to bring him into justice.... His daughter is going to be caught in the middle, because she loves and respects her father, and she's always believed in what he believed, but at the same time, she's going to see this dark urban legend out there that's actually doing a lot of good; the kind of good that she wants to be doing in her role as a legal aid attorney."[60] Learning from previous experiences working in television, the producers worked early on identifying the major story arcs for the series, specifically the first season, including "mapping out" how to accomplish them. Taking inspiration from Christopher Nolan's Batman film series, the creative team decided to "put it all out there" and "not hold back" from episode to episode.[60]

The team strives to include various DC Comics characters and aspects of the DC universe. Guggenheim cited Big Belly Burger, a restaurant franchise introduced in the Superman comics, which appears in Arrow's third episode and onward. Kreisberg said, "There are so many characters in the DC Universe who haven't gotten their due in TV and film. We're so excited to reach into [the DC comics] roster and take some of these lesser-known characters that are beloved by fans, and do our spin on the characters."[58]

Ahead of the 100th episode, Guggenheim talked about the commitment to quality the series strived for, stating, "We never skimped on the writing, the production or in the post-process going, 'This is going to be one of those stinkers, we might as well cut our losses and move on.' We worked as hard as we possibly can on the scripts. If episodes have come in bad, we reshoot ... Even in season 5, we have no problems with doing reshoots, or pickups, or anything we need to do to make each episode as successful as it can possibly be." He also noted his biggest regret in the series was "I wish we had allowed the Oliver-Felicity storyline in season 4 to unfold at a more natural pace. We had set these tentpoles at the beginning of the season, and we were a bit too rigorous on how we hit them. That was a case where the planning overtook the storytelling. We didn't do things as naturally and as elegantly as we should have."[61]

Costume design

The Arrow costume, worn by Stephen Amell, during the first season.

The realistic approach to the series included the costume design for Oliver's vigilante persona, created by Colleen Atwood.[62] According to Amell, it was important for the suit to be functional, and the best way that he knew for that was if he could put the costume on by himself: "If I can put it on by myself, I think that people will buy it. And that was our idea. That's our world."[54]

In the second half of season two, Oliver replaces his "paint" mask with a domino mask, similar to one worn by the character in the comics. The change is addressed on-screen, with Kreisberg saying, "He doesn't just put on a mask. It's actually a big plot point in an episode, and there really is a story behind, not only the need for the mask but also who provides him with it."[63] On adding the mask now, Kreisberg stated that, "Conceptually, it was something we wanted to do because Oliver himself is evolving as the Arrow—from vigilante to hero, sort of from Arrow to Green Arrow—and we wanted to see that progression in his costume as well. As Oliver is embracing being a hero, being a hero means stepping out of the dark and being more of a symbol, so he has to take steps to conceal his identity more."[63] He added that it will "allow the Arrow to interact with people who don't know his identity in a much more organic way than having him constantly keep his head down."[63]

Costume designer Maya Mani put together roughly 50 mask options for the producers. Kreisberg said, "What's so wonderful about the design that Maya came up with is that it really is very simple, and it feels as if it's been part of his costume since the beginning ... once we finally had this mask and put it on Stephen [Amell], even Stephen was like, 'This is the right one.'"[63] In the episode "Three Ghosts", Oliver receives the mask from Barry Allen, who is able to create a mask that will help conceal his identity, while still being functional and allowing Oliver to see clearly.[64]


To compose the score for Arrow, executive producer Greg Berlanti invited Blake Neely, with whom he had first worked on Everwood. Neely created a score that combined electronic and orchestral cues, varying between action themes and romantic ones.[65] Berlanti told Neely the series would be dark, and the music should be as well. After reading the pilot script, Neely went away to start composing on his own.[66] According to Neely, "Of course, Oliver has his main theme but also sub-themes for the many layers of his character. He and Laurel have a love theme. Mom had a theme for the Undertaking. The bad guys all have themes, which makes it sad for me when one of them dies. So I try not to become attached to bad guy themes. Diggle has a theme. Even the Island itself has a theme."[65] A soundtrack for season one was released on September 17, 2013 by WaterTower Music.[67][68] Two versions of a soundtrack for season two were released on September 16, 2014 by WaterTower Music and La La Land Records; the compact disc release includes two exclusive tracks not available on the digital release.[69][70] On December 18, 2014, WaterTower Music and La La Records released a selection of music from The Flash / Arrow crossover episodes, as well as two bonus tracks from their respective 2014 midseason finales.[71] The Season 3 soundtrack was released in December 2015, consisting of 2 discs for the first time (previous albums consisted on one CD).[72]


Arrow premiered on The CW network from October 10, 2012, during the 2012–13 television season.[73][74] In Canada, the show is broadcast simultaneously on the same day as the United States.[75] The show premiered outside North America throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland,[76] on October 22, 2012.[77] In Australia, the series premiered on May 1, 2013,[78] on the Nine Network, before moving to Foxtel for the fourth season.[79]


Critical response

Season one received favorable reviews, with a Metacritic score of 73 out of 100, based on reviews from 25 critics, making it the highest rated CW show in five years.[80][81] Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes calculated an approval rating of 86%, based on 35 reviews, for the first season. The site's consensus reads: "The CW nails the target with Arrow, a comic book-inspired series that benefits from cinematic action sequences, strong plotting, and intriguing characters."[82] Mary McNamara of the Los Angeles Times called the series an interesting setup with a quality look, describing Amell as "a poster boy (no doubt literally) for the Katniss Everdeen set."[83] Brian Lowry at Variety described the series as a "handsome but stiff surrogate for Batman that could benefit from sharper execution."[84] In reviewing the final episode of season one, Alasdair Wilkins of The A.V. Club gave the season as a whole a rating of B+, noting that the show "hasn't quite figured everything out yet, but it's had some standout episodes."[85]

Season two received critical acclaim from critics and fans alike, for the action sequences, storytelling, performances of the cast, drama, and the portrayal of Slade Wilson.[86] Rotten Tomatoes reported a 100% approval rating based on 11 reviews, with the site's consensus reading: "The second season of Arrow boasts more fantastic action, as well as a widening cast of intriguing, richly written characters."[87] Jeff Jensen of Entertainment Weekly gave the first half of season two a rating of B+, saying, "Arrow possesses an intelligence that shines through its TV-budget production values, which aren't too shabby. The writing is adult and witty, the action is exciting, and Amell holds the center with well-cultivated ease."[88] The A.V. Club's Carrie Raisler gave the first half of season two a rating of A-. She said, "Arrow [has] officially established itself as one of the most satisfying shows on television. The most satisfying thing of all is that it did so by respecting its characters ... [Arrow respects] the character's comic-book roots in its overarching plotlines, all while using the network-appropriate soap-opera stories to do the heavy character lifting."[89]

Despite a strong critical start for the season three premiere,[90] the second half of season three has met with criticism, particularly for its preoccupation with romance, leading to accusations of the show "devolving into a CW fever dream" and "turning Star City into Dawson's Creek"[91] and becoming a 'soap opera'.[92] The flashback sequences were characterized as sporadic and "superfluous", with Ra's al Ghul described as a "shallow" and "underutilized" villain "absent of clear antagonism",[93] although Matt Nable was generally praised for his portrayal of the character. Furthermore, while parallels to Batman had always existed in the show, the use of such a major character from Batman's rogues gallery and the essential application of the "Daughter of the Demon" and several other Batman and Ra's al Ghul storylines applied to Oliver Queen came under particular fire from viewers, who accused the show of "ripping off" Batman.[94] The season finale was described as "dull", "lacking scope", and "underwhelming" by IGN's Jesse Schedeen in light of the "high standard" the show had previously established for its finales. He cemented the mixed reception of season three as being "haphazardly paced" and "struggling to develop a clear sense of direction".[95] The third season holds a score of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 10 reviews, with the site's consensus concluding: "Arrow stays on target with new characters and a steady supply of exciting action."[96]

The fourth season received mixed reviews. The season earned a strong critical start, with praise given to the action scenes and Neal McDonough's performance as Damien Darhk. However, the second half of the season received increasingly negative reviews for its mundane flashbacks, lack of narrative focus, and formulaic season finale.[97] Ryan Fleming, of noted that Arrow was "honoring the comics, but it isn't beholden to them. Characters ... have been introduced, but they aren't exact replicas of their comic counterparts. Instead, the characters tend to be loosely connected."[98] Lesley Goldberg of The Hollywood Reporter noted the presence of the character Thea "Speedy" Queen as one of the larger departures from the comics in the series, as well as the character's early willingness to kill.[99] Comic Book Resources's Kevin Melrose has also noted the series tendency to have loose connections to the source material.[100] Rotten Tomatoes gave the season a 100% rating based on 13 reviews, with a critic consensus reading: "Season four of Arrow flourishes with a refreshing new tone, a thrilling new villain, and a gripping story arc."[101]

The fifth season received critical acclaim from fans and critics alike, giving praise for the performances of Stephen Amell and Josh Segarra, action sequences, storytelling, and the season finale.[102] IGN gave Season 5 a score of 8.7 out of 10, stating that the it "managed to overcome them and recapture a lot of what made the show so memorable in its first two seasons."[103] Rotten Tomatoes reported a score of 93% based on 14 reviews.[104]

The sixth season received mixed reviews from critics. IGN gave Season 6 a score of 6.7 out of 10, stating that it "captured the show at its best and worst, with a strong finish redeeming months of dissapoinment."[105] Rotten Tomatoes reported a score of 77% based on 6 reviews.[106]


Season Timeslot (ET) Episodes First aired Last aired TV season Rank Avg. viewers
18–49 rating
Date Viewers
Date Viewers
1 Wednesday 8:00 pm 23 October 10, 2012 4.14[107] May 15, 2013 2.77[108] 2012–13 130 3.68[109] 1.2[110]
2 23 October 9, 2013 2.74[111] May 14, 2014 2.37[112] 2013–14 128 3.28[113] TBD
3 23 October 8, 2014 2.83[114] May 13, 2015 2.83[115] 2014–15 135 3.52 1.3[116]
4 23 October 7, 2015 2.67[117] May 25, 2016 2.19[118] 2015–16 145 2.90 1.1[119]
5 23 October 5, 2016 1.87[120] May 24, 2017 1.72[121] 2016–17 147 2.21 0.8[122]
6 Thursday 9:00 pm[a] 23 October 12, 2017 1.52[123] May 17, 2018 (2018-05-17) 1.35[124] 2017–18 181 1.76 0.6[125]
7 Monday 8:00 pm 22 October 15, 2018 1.43[126] TBA TBD 2018–19 TBD TBD TBD
  1. ^ The eighth episode of the season aired on Monday as part of the "Crisis on Earth-X" crossover event.

Arrow's premiere episode drew 4.14 million viewers, making it The CW's most-watched telecast of any show on any night in three years, and The CW's most-watched series premiere since The Vampire Diaries in 2009. In its second episode, Arrow became the only new network drama in the 2012–13 season to hold its ratings in both adults 18–34 and adults 18–49 from its premiere to its second week.[57] In Australia, the premiere received 1.32 million viewers, making it the third most-watched broadcast on the network that night.[127] The UK broadcast was the highest-rated telecast of the week on Sky 1, with 1.85 million viewers.[128] In Canada, the first episode got 1.32 million viewers, making it the fourth most-watched airing of the night and the twenty-third of the week.[129]

Arrow : U.S. viewers per episode (millions)
Season Episode number
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23
1 4.14 3.55 3.51 3.05 3.75 3.83 3.74 3.35 3.11 3.06 3.14 2.97 2.96 3.29 3.15 3.17 3.02 2.65 2.92 3.10 2.89 2.62 2.77
2 2.74 3.06 2.89 2.37 2.80 3.09 2.66 3.24 3.02 2.52 2.49 2.95 2.86 2.45 2.21 2.42 2.62 2.32 2.26 2.19 2.31 2.33 2.37
3 2.83 2.32 2.55 2.49 2.73 2.60 2.64 3.92 3.06 3.06 2.91 2.94 2.67 2.91 3.07 2.56 2.86 2.48 2.47 2.72 2.39 2.54 2.83
4 2.67 2.50 2.40 2.64 2.60 2.30 2.69 3.66 2.82 2.83 2.78 2.48 2.44 2.44 2.70 2.09 2.34 2.24 2.27 2.07 2.16 1.94 2.19
5 1.87 1.94 1.79 1.87 1.61 1.95 1.86 3.55 1.94 1.68 1.91 1.61 1.66 1.54 1.60 1.53 1.38 1.55 1.36 1.36 1.65 1.44 1.72
6 1.52 1.51 1.34 1.33 1.29 1.28 1.09 2.52 1.30 1.38 1.38 1.24 1.30 1.11 1.28 1.12 0.87 1.06 0.96 0.87 1.10 1.00 1.35
Audience measurement performed by Nielsen Media Research.[130]


Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result
2012 IGN Awards[131] Best TV Hero Stephen Amell/Arrow Nominated
Satellite Awards[132] Best Television Series – Genre Arrow Nominated
2013 Broadcast Music, Inc.[133] BMI Television Music Awards Blake Neely Won
Canadian Society of Cinematography Awards[134] Cinematographer Awards for TV Drama Cinematography Glen Winter ("Pilot") Won
Leo Awards[135][136] Best Dramatic Series Joseph Patrick Finn, Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim, Andrew Kreisberg, Melissa Kellner Berman, Drew Greenberg, Jennifer Lence, Wendy Mericle, Carl Ogawa Nominated
Cinematography Gordon Verheul ("Lone Gunman") Nominated
Glen Winter ("Pilot") Won
Best Visual Effects Jean-Luc Dinsdale, Pauline Burns, Andrew Orloff, Dave Gauthier ("Burned") Won
Best Production Design Richard Hudolin ("Pilot") Won
Best Casting Coreen Mayrs, Heike Brandstatter ("An Innocent Man") Nominated
Best Stunt Coordination J.J. Makaro ("Pilot") Won
J.J. Makaro ("Vertigo") Nominated
NewNowNext Awards[137] Best New Indulgence Arrow Nominated
Cause You're Hot Stephen Amell Nominated
People's Choice Awards[138] Favorite New TV Drama Arrow Nominated
Saturn Awards[139] Best Youth-Oriented Series on Television Arrow Nominated
Teen Choice Awards[140] Choice TV Actor: Fantasy/Sci-Fi Stephen Amell Nominated
Choice TV Actress: Fantasy/Sci-Fi Katie Cassidy Nominated
Choice TV Breakout Show Arrow Nominated
Choice TV Breakout Star Stephen Amell Nominated
Choice TV Show: Fantasy/Sci-Fi Arrow Nominated
2014 Constellation Awards[141] Best Male Performance in a 2013 Science Fiction Television Episode Stephen Amell ("The Odyssey") Nominated
Best Science Fiction Television Series of 2013 Arrow Nominated
IGN Awards[142] Best TV Hero Stephen Amell/Arrow 2nd Place
Leo Awards[143] Cinematography Gordon Verheul ("Sacrifice") Nominated
Make-Up Danielle Fowler ("Keep Your Enemies Closer") Nominated
Lead Performance – Female Emily Bett Rickards ("Three Ghosts") Nominated
Lead Performance – Male Stephen Amell ("Crucible") Nominated
Program Greg Berlanti, Joseph P. Finn, Marc Guggenheim, Andrew Kreisberg, Wendy Mericle[144] Nominated
Stunt Coordination J.J. Makaro ("The Scientist") Nominated
People's Choice Awards[145] Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Actor Stephen Amell Nominated
Satellite Awards[146] Best Television Series – Genre Arrow Nominated
Saturn Awards[147] Best Youth-Oriented Series on Television Arrow Nominated
Teen Choice Awards[148] Choice TV Female Breakout Star[149] Emily Bett Rickards Nominated
Choice TV Show: Fantasy/Sci-Fi Arrow Nominated
Young Hollywood Awards[150] Super Superhero Stephen Amell Nominated
2015 Leo Awards[151] Cinematography C. Kim Miles ("Blind Spot") Nominated
Costume Design Maya Mani ("Suicide Squad") Nominated
Lead Performance – Female Emily Bett Rickards ("Left Behind") Nominated
MTV Fandom Awards[152] Ship Of The Year Stephen Amell & Emily Bett Rickards Won
PRISM Awards[153] Performance in a Drama Multi-Episode Storyline Katie Cassidy Won
Saturn Awards[154] Best Superhero Adaption Television Series Arrow Nominated
Teen Choice Awards[155] Choice TV Actor: Sci-Fi/Fantasy Stephen Amell Nominated
Choice TV Actress: Sci-Fi/Fantasy Emily Bett Rickards Nominated
Choice TV Liplock Stephen Amell & Emily Bett Rickards Nominated
Choice TV Show: Sci-Fi/Fantasy Arrow Nominated
Choice TV Villain Matt Nable Nominated
2016 MTV Fandom Awards[156] Ship Of The Year Stephen Amell & Emily Bett Rickards Won
People's Choice Awards[157] Favorite Network TV Sci-Fi/Fantasy Arrow Nominated
Saturn Awards[158] Best Superhero Adaptation Television Series Arrow Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice TV: Liplock Stephen Amell & Emily Bett Rickards Nominated
Choice TV Actress: Fantasy/Sci-Fi Emily Bett Rickards Nominated
Choice TV Show: Fantasy/Sci-Fi Arrow Nominated
2017 Leo Awards[159] Best Cinematography in a Dramatic Series Shamus Whiting-Hewlett Nominated
Best Lead Performance by a Female in a Dramatic Series Emily Bett Rickards Nominated
Best Stunt Coordination in a Dramatic Series Curtis Braconnier, Eli Zagoudakis Won
MTV Movie & TV Awards[160] Best Hero Stephen Amell Nominated
People's Choice Awards[161] Favorite Network TV Sci-Fi/Fantasy Arrow Nominated
Saturn Awards[162] Best Superhero Adaptation Television Series Arrow Nominated
Teen Choice Awards[163] Choice TV Actor: Action Stephen Amell Nominated
Choice TV Actress: Action Emily Bett Rickards Nominated
Choice TV Show: Action Arrow Nominated
Choice TV Villain Josh Segarra Nominated
2018 People's Choice Awards[164] The Sci-Fi/Fantasy Show of 2018 Arrow Pending
Saturn Awards[165] Best Superhero Adaptation Television Series Arrow Nominated
Teen Choice Awards[166] Choice TV Actor: Action Stephen Amell Nominated
Choice TV Actress: Action Emily Bett Rickards Nominated
Choice TV Ship Stephen Amell & Emily Bett Rickards Nominated
Choice TV Show: Action Arrow Nominated

Other media

Arrow has generated other media and spinoffs, including digital comic books and Internet-based mini-episodes with characters from the series.

Digital comics

To promote the series, DC Comics produced a 10-page preview comic for the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con, written by Kreisberg, illustrated by Omar Francia, and featuring a cover by artist Mike Grell. The comic was regarded by the production crew as sharing the same canon as the series, with Kreisberg commenting, "[For] anyone who grabs a copy: Hold onto it and as the series progresses, you'll appreciate it more and more."[167] It was later released free online.[168] On October 10, 2012, DC Comics debuted a weekly digital comic tie-in written by Kreisberg and Guggenheim and drawn by various artists, including Mike Grell, which remained in continuity with the television series.[169] The series lasted for 36 chapters, running until June 2013. These were collected, together with the initial preview comic, into Arrow: Volume 1, released in October 2013.[170][171] Titan Magazines published the comics in a physical format in the UK. The first issue was published on October 17, 2013 and contained the first four chapters of the series, with the complete series lasting 6 issues.[170][172]

A follow up to the original digital title, Arrow: Season 2.5, is written by Guggenheim and Keto Shimizu, one of the show's executive story editors and writers, with art by Joe Bennett and Jack Jadson. Arrow 2.5 is intended to tell one continuous story across two arcs, that fits within the television narrative. Guggenheim stated, "We've tried to put in all the elements that people like about the show ... We're going to see what's happened to Detective Lance after he collapsed in the season [two] finale. A good chunk of the burning questions left over will get answered in the tie-in comic. Particularly towards the latter half of the series, we're going to start introducing characters [in the comic] who you'll see in Season 3 ... before they show up on TV."[173] On the comic's relationship to season three of the show, Guggenheim said, "Season three is designed to stand on its own feet without requiring anyone to do any outside reading. But what the comic book will give is a deeper appreciation for some of the moments [in the show] and a more complete narrative experience. If you want to go deeper into the story, that's what Season 2.5 is for." Shimizu added that the comic also allows the writers to "accomplish things on the page that are nearly impossible to do with our production schedule and our budget", including bigger action sequences, as well as visits to locations such as Kahndaq that cannot be recreated on the show. Additionally, the series has one to two pages each issue dedicated to the Suicide Squad, leading up to their own issue later in the run.[174] The character Caleb Green, who has ties to Robert Queen, was created specifically for the comic.[175] Guggenheim said "The goal is to end Season 2.5 basically five minutes before Season 3 begins."[176] The comic launched digitally biweekly on September 1, 2014, with its first physical release featuring a collection of the digital releases releasing on October 8.[173] The series featured 24 digital issues, which constituted 12 physical issues.[175]

A third series, Arrow: The Dark Archer, is written by Barrowman with his sister Carole, and with an art team led by Daniel Sampere. The comic, initially set between season three and four of the show before flashing back, explores a younger Malcolm Merlyn and his past, with Corto Maltese and Nanda Parbat featured. Barrowman, who initially pitched the series to DC Comics as another with the ability to tell Merlyn's backstory, said he "had a backstory in my head for Malcolm from the beginning and a lot of it has made its way into our comic and onto the screen. I think it's always been my job to help the audience relate to Malcolm in some way despite his questionable morals and evil ways." Executive producers Guggenheim and Kreisberg helped the Barrowmans ensure the story would fit within the continuity of the series. The 12-chapter series was released digitally once every two weeks starting January 13, 2016, before the entire story was collected in a single print edition in September 2016.[177][178]

Blood Rush

On November 6, 2013, a six-episode series of shorts, titled Blood Rush, premiered alongside the broadcast of the show, as well as online. The series, which was presented by Bose, and features product placement for Bose products, was shot on location in Vancouver, similarly to the main show. The miniseries features Emily Bett Rickards, Colton Haynes and Paul Blackthorne reprising their roles of Felicity Smoak, Roy Harper and Quentin Lance, respectively.[179]

The episodes set during the course of the second season of the television series, show Roy coming to Queen Consolidated to have a meeting with Oliver. As he is out, Felicity tells Roy to go wait in the lobby.[180] As Roy leaves, Officer Lance calls Felicity, telling her that the blood sample the Starling City police found on the vigilante, which Felicity destroyed, has resurfaced. Felicity then calls Roy, using Oliver's voice encoder, asking him to break into the lab to retrieve the sample.[181] Felicity guides Roy through the lab, where he is able to recover the sample. As Roy is leaving, doctors enter the room, seemingly trapping him.[182] He notifies Felicity, who then hacks into the building's PA system, and issues an evacuation notice, giving Roy a chance to escape.[183] Roy gets out of the room before it enters into lock down, and is able to avoid two guards with the help of Felicity and exit the lab.[184] Roy returns to Queen Consolidated, and Felicity offers to mail the acquired sample for Roy as he goes in to meet with Oliver.[185]

Video games

A Green Arrow skin based on Oliver Queen's appearance in Arrow appears in the 2013 video game Injustice: Gods Among Us as downloadable content. The playable skin was given as a bonus reward to the first 5,000 voters of Injustice's promotional Battle Arena competition, but was later released as a free download. Stephen Amell lends his voice and likeness to the skin.[186]

Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham features an Arrow downloadable content pack that adds multiple playable characters, including Arrow, John Diggle, Felicity Smoak, Huntress, Slade Wilson, Roy Harper, Canary, and Malcolm Merlyn as well as vehicles and an exclusive level set during Oliver's time in Lian Yu. Amell reprised his role in addition to voicing the traditional Green Arrow in the game, while Cynthia Addai-Robinson reprised her role as Amanda Waller.[187][188]

In September 2018, Warner Bros. announced that the season pass for the game Lego DC Super-Villains would include content inspired by Arrow.[189]


On February 23, 2016, Titan Books released Arrow: Vengeance, a tie-in novelization written by Oscar Balderrama and Lauren Certo, which is set before and during the second season, detailing the origins of Slade Wilson, Sebastian Blood, and Isabel Rochev, and how they eventually meet and collaborate with each other to battle Oliver's alter-ego as seen in the television series.[190] On November 29, 2016, Titan Books released The Flash: The Haunting of Barry Allen, a tie-in novelization written by Susan and Clay Griffith, set during the second season of The Flash and the fourth season of Arrow, which features characters from both shows;[191] the story continued in Arrow: A Generation of Vipers, released on March 28, 2017, again written by the Griffiths.[192]

In August 2017, it was confirmed that Arrow executive producer Marc Guggenheim would co-author a fourth novel, alongside James R. Tuck, entitled Arrow: Fatal Legacies, which was released in January 2018. The novel focuses on events between the fifth-season finale and sixth-season premiere.[193]

Home release

Complete Season DVD/Blu-ray Release dates Additional features
Region 1/A Region 2/B Region 4/B
1 September 17, 2013[194] September 23, 2013[195] October 2, 2013[196]
  • Arrow Comes Alive!
  • Arrow: Fight School/Stunt School
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Gag Reel
  • Arrow at Paley Fest 2013
2 September 16, 2014[197] September 15, 2014[198] December 3, 2014[199]
  • Year One
  • From Vigilante To Hero
  • How Did They Do That? The Visual Effects of Arrow
  • Wirework: The Impossible Moves of Arrow
  • Arrow 2013 Comic-Con panel
  • Gag reel
  • Deleted scenes
3 September 22, 2015[200] September 28, 2015[201] September 23, 2015[202]
  • Second Skins: Creating The Uniforms of Arrow
  • Nanda Parbat: Constructing The Villain's Lair
  • Audio Commentaries
  • Arrow at Comic-Con 2014
  • The Man Beneath the Suit – Atom's First Flight
  • Gag Reel
  • Deleted Scenes
4 August 30, 2016[203] September 5, 2016[204] September 7, 2016[205][206]
  • Star Crossed Hawks: The Hunt for Vandal Savage
  • Arrow: 2015 Comic-Con Panel
  • Vixen: Season 1
  • Villains – Damian Darkh
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Gag Reel
5 September 19, 2017[207] September 18, 2017[208] September 9, 2017[209]
  • Arrow: 2016 Comic-Con Panel
  • The New Team Arrow
  • Allied: The Invasion Complex (Arrow)
  • Returning to the Roots of Arrow: Prometheus
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Gag-Reel
6 August 14, 2018[210] September 3, 2018[211] August 15, 2018[212]
  • The Best of DC TV's Comic-Con Panels San Diego 2017
  • The Split of a Man: Deathstroke
  • Inside the Crossover: Crisis on Earth-X
  • Revenge in Ones and Zeros: The Story of Cayden James

Crossover with Constantine

In August 2015, it was confirmed that Matt Ryan would appear on Arrow in the fourth-season episode "Haunted", per a "one-time-only-deal" that would involve his character being "brought in to deal with the fallout of the resurrection of Sara Lance (Caity Lotz) via Ra's al Ghul's Lazarus Pit."[213][214][215] Due to Arrow and Constantine sharing the same studio, the producers of Arrow were also able to acquire Ryan's original outfits. John Badham, who was a director on Constantine, directed the crossover episode.[214] On filming the episode, Guggenheim stated it felt like the production team was "doing a Constantine/Arrow crossover, and it's so exciting ... we're just really glad we got the chance to extend Matt Ryan's run as Constantine by at least one more hour of television. I think you'll see he fits very neatly into our universe. It never feels forced, it feels right."[216]


In July 2013, it was announced that Berlanti and Kreisberg, along with Nutter and Geoff Johns, would be creating a television series, The Flash, based on the character of the same name, with an origin story for Barry Allen.[217] The character, played by actor Grant Gustin, was set to appear in three episodes of season two of Arrow, with the final one acting as a backdoor pilot for the new series.[218] However, it was announced in November 2013 that the backdoor pilot would not be happening, with a traditional pilot being made instead.[219] In January 2015, The CW president Mark Pedowitz announced the intention to do a Flash/Arrow crossover every season,[220] and The CW announced that an animated web-series, Vixen, featuring the DC heroine of the same name and set in the universe of Arrow and The Flash, would be debuting on CW Seed in late 2015.[221] The character later made a live-action appearance on Arrow in the fourth-season episode "Taken". The next month, it was reported that a spin-off series, which is described as a superhero team-up show, was in discussion by The CW for a possible 2015–16 midseason release. Berlanti and Kreisberg would executive produce alongside Guggenheim and Sarah Schechter. The potential series would be headlined by several recurring characters from both Arrow and The Flash, with the potential for other Arrow/Flash characters to cross over to the new series as well.[222][223] In May 2015, The CW officially picked up the series, titled DC's Legends of Tomorrow.[224]

During the 100th episode of Arrow season 5, some returning characters from previous seasons make an appearance in "Invasion!", a crossover episode of Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow,[225] where Thea, Diggle, Sara, Ray and Oliver are abducted by the Dominators and were put in dream stasis to gather intel while they are shown what would their lives be like if Oliver never got on the boat. The next season, Arrow crossed over with the three shows again during the "Crisis on Earth-X" event on November 27 and 28, 2017.[226] During the 2018 CW Upfronts, Stephen Amell announced that Batwoman and Gotham City will be introduced in the 2018 annual crossover event.[227][228]


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