Superhero TV Owes Arrow a Debt of Gratitude

Arrow TV Series

It's time to say farewell and thanks for the memories. Yesterday, Arrow star Stephen Amell announced that the series will end with its upcoming abbreviated eighth season. It brought to a close several weeks of rumors about the show's status, allowing some form of closure for its fanbase.

It's disappointing but perhaps the right thing to do, all things considered. Amell elaborated that the decision has been in the pipeline for a while now, but it's time to end the series on a high rather than trundle along aimlessly. He left a glimmer of hope that Season 8 will not be the last time he wears the infamous hood, however, as he stated that there might be a possibility for his character to appear in the other shows down the line.

RELATED: Why The CW Decided to End Arrow With Season 8

Despite its remarkable run, Arrow isn't the longest-running live-action comic book TV series; that distinction belongs to Smallville. Even so, it did something that no other program before it was capable of doing: It launched a universe, which demonstrated how much bigger superhero TV could be.

Arrow Oliver Laurel

Comic book TV series had been around for decades before the idea of Arrow was even conceived. Whether it was 1966's Batman, The Incredible Hulk in the '70s, or even Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman two decades later, these shows often carved out their own niches and audiences. Their biggest struggle, though, was creating a platform for spinoffs. Smallville famously tried to act as a springboard for other superhero series, but it battled to do so because of network politics and the failure to commit to plans.

Then, a little show called Arrow zipped onto the screen in 2012. When it debuted, it was a risky project for The CW. For one, Amell was an unknown quantity at the time, and he'd need to carry the show as its lead. Also, Green Arrow wasn't exactly a major DC character that fans were clamoring for on the small screen. And finally, the show took massive liberties with canon, as it turned Oliver Queen into a Batman-esque character that brooded and growled like the Joker had stolen his Batmobile's spare wheel.

Yet, Arrow defied all expectations, averaging 3.6 million viewers per episode. As a result, the show received numerous awards and accolades while it broke the barrier to appeal to a larger audience. No one could've seen it coming, but the risk paid off as Arrow became one of The CW's biggest hits.

Stephen Amell as Green Arrow in Arrow

NEXT PAGE: The CW Strikes Gold with First Arrow, Then The Flash

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