A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
On one hand, the hero takes revenge on the worst of the worst: people who lie, cheat, and steal their way to power and wealth, often at the expense of the little guy. He's motivated by a quest to right family wrongs that were confessed to him by his father, and his actions make life better for the criminals' victims. On the other, the hero acts outside the legal system and without concrete proof of others' wrongdoing, and he kills in revenge. Many characters are motivated by greed and secrecy, even within families. Prior to the shipwreck, Oliver cheated on his girlfriend with her sister, but in retrospect, he regrets his actions and seeks to make amends for them.
Positive Role Models
Oliver is well-intentioned, and his justification for acting as a vigilante is understandable in light of the fact that he knows most of the city's power holders are criminals. That said, his present-day personality is in sharp contrast to the bad-boy reputation he gained by partying, sleeping around, and generally taking advantage of his privileged status. Some characters are salt-of-the-Earth good guys who stand for justice, but most are involved in shady doings of some kind, and their loyalties are uncertain. Oliver decides to stop killing villains in the show's second season, but still uses violence to subdue those who oppose him.
Violence & Scariness
Fighting and death by gunfire, beatings, electrocution, strangulation, suicide, and spine snapping are fair game in this action-packed show. A fair amount of blood, and some scenes of kidnapping and torture. Both "good" and "bad" guys use violence as a means to push their agenda. Oliver vows to leave villains alive beginning with the show's second season; however, he often shoots them with arrows to subdue them, to agonized screams.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Scenes imply that sex is imminent or has recently occurred, but it occurs off-camera. Women lounge in lingerie, there's some hot-and-heavy kissing, and language mentions "screwing" and women being "hot." Female characters are often dressed in figure-hugging clothing. Refreshingly, though, female superheroes wear leather outfits similar to male superheroes' (though they're tighter and more revealing) instead of short skirts or other hard-to-fight-in outfits.
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Intermittent use of words including "damn," "suck," "hell," and "ass."
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Products & Purchases
Several other series were spun off from this one; viewers may want to watch The Flash, Vixen, and DC's Legends of Tomorrow after watching this, particularly if they see "crossover" episodes featuring characters from Arrow's DC multiverse. Parents may have concerns about Legends of Tomorrow in particular, as this show is more violent than Arrow. Green Arrow is also featured on many forms of merchandise: backpacks, lunchboxes, clothing, etc.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Most social and dining events have alcoholic drinks, and a main character is known to do drugs, which she uses to cope with the tragedies in her life. She is eventually arrested for driving under the influence, which sparks a change in her habits.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Arrow is a tense action-adventure series that's loosely based on a DC Comics story about a castaway survivor who returns to his hometown to make up for his past sins by taking revenge on the criminals who plague his city. His weapon of choice is a bow and arrow (hence his moniker), but he's also adept with other weapons and in hand-to-hand combat, so there's a lot of fighting/violence in the show. Main characters die over the course of the show, sometimes shockingly, and their deaths become further crime-fighting motivation. Viewers will also see teen drug use (mostly implied by handling or buying the stuff), drinking, and suggestions of sex. That said, it's notable that the romantic relationship at the heart of the show is one that was damaged by the main character's long-ago act of cheating, and his desire to make up for his mistake helps fuel his vigilantism. Though his actions are in defense of innocent victims, and he chooses his marks carefully, the concept of taking justice into your own hands is an iffy one -- and one of many topics that parents can discuss with teens after watching.
Is It Any Good?
CW hits the mark with this thrilling, suspenseful series centering on a modern-day superhero who could likely hold his own in a duel with just about any comic-book hero. As superheroes go, Arrow ranks high on appeal thanks to a secretive double life, a genuine desire to oust the bad guys, and a heartwarming affection for the people he cherishes most. He's also easy on the eyes, and his "superpowers" are learned (and thus achievable) skills rather than a supernatural gift (like flying), but it's the subtleties of his personality and his compassion for humanity that are his greatest attributes.
Even so, Arrow/Oliver isn't a faultless hero, and his methods raise some interesting, relevant issues. Who should decide the punishment for crimes? Is violence ever the answer? When, if ever, is it forgivable to take justice into your own hands? Oliver's decision, after killing villains in the show's first season, to dispatch bad guys without snuffing out their lives, is another rich topic for discussion. Granted, Starling City (later called Star City) is an extreme example of the socioeconomic fallout from concentrated power and wealth, but there are some parallels to current events, and with a little effort from parents, this dark series could shed some light for teens on the possible effects of certain financial and judicial practices.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.