With its first season, Arrow came out of the gates running. The series had everything to prove, and it went above and beyond to show why it was a paradigm shift in small screen superhero action. While it took a bit of time to get some solid traction, every episode offered intense action scenes that helped give the series a strong reputation.
The season only got better with the arrival of the Dark Archer, who would be revealed to be one of the series' better villains, Malcolm Merlyn. Excitement then ramped up as Oliver found allies in John Diggle and Felicity Smoak -- thus giving birth to the original Team Arrow. With a strong supporting cast that included Tommy Merlyn, Moira Queen and Walter Steele and a final confrontation that saw Oliver lose, Season 1 set a precedent that the series would have a difficult time living up to.
Arrow's fifth season was a triumphant return to form following a disappointing Season 4. Its secret weapon was in the season's overarching villain, Prometheus, who turned out to not only be a match for Oliver Queen, but a terrifying threat. The first half of the season had fans wondering who was underneath the villain's mask. When Adrian Chase was revealed as the real antagonist, Season 5 kicked into high gear as his threat only worsened.
What's more, Season 5 also placed Oliver Queen in an interesting position: a leader and teacher to a new crop of vigilantes. This is the season that introduced Wild Dog, Ragman and Artemis, and the formation of this new Team Arrow was great to see. It all culminated in a confrontation on Lian Yu that ended with the island in flames, and Oliver the only confirmed survivor.
Season 2 of Arrow is, by far, the season that is seen by most fans as the series' pinnacle. This is the season wherein the series became something else entirely. As DC standards go, Season 2 was perfect from the start: it introduced a fan favorite Black Canary, it featured a mysterious villain with Brother Blood, it saw Roy Harper start to become an official sidekick, and it slowly began to instill the idea of superpowers into the Arrowverse.
But where the season truly shined was with its main villain, Slade Wilson, aka Deathstroke. Slade was and still is arguably Oliver's greatest foe. The villain was ahead at every turn, and the rivalry between the two was some of the most gratifying in the entire series. The death of Moira Queen, the arrival of Barry Allen, the Suicide Squad, the League of Assassins, and other twists, turns and incredible action led to this one being a true stand-out. Season 2 had us glued to our seats, and counting down the days until a new episode would air.
Here's hoping Arrow's eighth and final season can live up to its legacy.
Airing Mondays at 8 pm ET/PT on The CW, Arrow stars Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen, David Ramsey as John Diggle, Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak, Rick Gonzalez as Wild Dog, Juliana Harkavy as Black Canary, Colton Haynes as Arsenal, Kirk Acevedo as Diaz and Katie Cassidy as Black Siren.