When Arrow launched in the fall, I named Stephen Amell as one of my fall crushes. He is also one of my 2012 TV Goodness All-Stars because Arrow has become a big fat hit for the CW, and that rests a lot on his shoulders.
Itâ€™s a big gamble to kick off a show based on a character with an established origin story, and variations thereof that have already appeared on the same network, but Arrow has done it, and Amell has made Oliver Queen infinitely interesting as a PTSD-afflicted billionaire survivor trying to figure out who he is and how to function in the semi ruins of a city he loved and took for granted.
Itâ€™s a tall order and Amell has stepped up. Heâ€™s working his butt off, and whatâ€™s funny is that onscreen it looks effortless. He has an easy smile and an easy gait and he flips between public Oliver and private Oliver and family Oliver seamlessly.
He can play the hardball vigilante scenes and then turn around and have a sweet mother and son scene with the awesome Susannah Thompson. Some of my favorite moments of hers ever are from Once and Again, when she worked opposite Shane West as her son. Iâ€™m enjoying Amellâ€™s scenes with her just as much.
Amell has already gotten to do the romantic side of Oliver, too. We got the scene of Laurel seeing Oliverâ€™s scars for the first time even earlier than I had expected and it was everything I had hoped it would be, with really nice work from Amell and Katie Cassidy as Laurel. We saw the years of their relationship, and the damage heâ€™d done to her, all over both of their faces. In “Vendetta,” Oliver found, for a moment, a kindred spirit in an equally wounded woman avenging her fianceâ€™s death. But it didnâ€™t blind him to his larger agenda when she crossed the line he had about being a vigilante.
Amell also seems to be having a ball with David Ramsey as Oliver has bonded with Diggle, the only one who knows his secret. I like that the relationship with Diggle takes Oliver out of his head and that they can take the piss out of each other. Itâ€™s added yet another layer of what Amell gets to do in the role.
In real life, Amell is earnest and charming and a little goofy, which is an odd mix when you look at himâ€”you donâ€™t get to where he is physically without an extraordinary amount of discipline. He accidentally Twitter-leaked the back nine pickup announcement ahead of the network and was perfectly human about it being an honest mistakeâ€”a nice, normal moment for a guy embracing a whole new level of public visibility. On his Twitter and Facebook pages, he shares pics from the set and pics from his personal life and by all appearances is a good guy enjoying his newfound success and very grateful for all of it. We like it at TV Goodness when nice guys finish first.
Arrow returns to The CW with new episodes on Wednesday, January 16th at 8 pm/7 c.
Thanks so much for reading in 2012! We’ll see you next year!
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