Things Fall Apart: Why I'm No Longer An Arrow Fangirl

So here’s what happened.

I started watching Arrow the first season and liked it, but it wasn’t appointment TV. Then a bit player connected with the lead and I started deconstructing it to see how that happened, and then I got hooked. Wonderful show, terrific cast, I’m a fan. And then everything shifted, and the hero changed, and there were all these people crowding up the Arrow cave, and I got bitchy about it, and then the next week, the story repeated things I already knew and I got bitchier, which helps nobody. Then this week I found myself disliking the lead character and his whiny super-girl-friend so much that I quit before the episode was over. I don’t think I’ve ever had this experience with a TV show before. I’ve gotten bored with shows over time, but I’ve never had one go from can’t-wait-for-the-next-episode to can’t-stand-to-finish-this-episode in a month.

So I have come to the decision that I’m not doing anybody any favors by talking about Arrow. The world is full of TV shows for me to watch that I really enjoy (The Blacklist, Person of Interest, Leverage). Clearly it’s time I stopped talking about this show and stick with stories that work for me.

So here’s what worked for me on Arrow:

1. Oliver Queen fighting crime, being a flawed but smart, good guy who doesn’t think he’s superior to anybody even though, hey, superhero.
2. Oliver, Diggle, and Felicity figuring out how to fight whatever is attacking the city, standing by each other through everything, a team founded in hard-earned trust.
3. Moira Queen, doing anything. Moira can do her nails for all I care; that woman and a sharp object will always make great story, especially if the sharp object is her tongue.
4. Great antagonists in full assault. Slade, the Clock King, China White, the Count, Merlyn, this story universe is full of good bad guys.

But the first two are gone, changed so much that what originally drew me to the show has been destroyed, and the last two aren’t enough to make up for the loss. In the words of Emma Stone, “It’s not you, it’s me; I don’t like you any more.” I really do wish you the best of luck in the future, Arrow. We had some really good times. Good-bye.

So how about you, Argh People? Have you ever fallen out of love with a show or a novel you were invested in? What happened? Or to put it another way, how do writers piss off readers/viewers so much they never come back?

225 thoughts on “Things Fall Apart: Why I'm No Longer An Arrow Fangirl

  1. I’m sure i will be the first of many to say – thank you for deconstructing Arrow in the first place – it has certainly been an educational experience……and for me the show has gone from “I can’t believe that I have to wait 7 days to the next episode to eh the bits that I do like aren’t enough to make up for what I can’t stand/ I feel constantly disappointed etc)

    Why? Things like the characters becoming something I no longer like/recognize, storylines requiring BIG suspension of disbelief or a focus on arcs/characters I am not interested in/make no sense etc are all major turn offs. I guess as per recent discussion – the story contract is broken in a major way. Fool me once, shame on me, fool me twice – etc.

    My love for Sherlock took a major knock with Season 3. – I am not sure even with the tease that Moriarity will be back would be enough for me to watch Season 4 ever.

    On the flip side I am really loving POI (still catching up on Season 2 and watching current season 3 is interesting) -“/” was A grade entertainment…..Perhaps a POI or Blacklist discussion instead……?

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    1. I love both PoI and Blacklist, both of which I also get a day late, and both of which I usually want to talk about. Leverage Sundays are about community in writing (and just good writing in general), but they’re not fresh. Hmmmm. Person of Interest is in its third season, and it’s a dense, dense show; that’s probably one we should do on Sundays sometime. But this is the Blacklist’s first year, so catching up on that would be much easier. Let me cogitate.

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  2. It’s not the show I thought it was anymore. But, I’m still hoping they will turn it around by the end of the season. Mainly because I don’t want to give up on the show I used to love so much. I still have some hope that the reason they are giving Sara so much attention is because she’s going to die. (Maybe not forever. She has a habit of returning from the dead.) Hopefully if they haven’t destroyed everything I liked about the other characters by then, I’ll continue to watch the show.

    But I already purposely missed the last episode. I think I’m going to skip the next couple of episodes too.

    I think the same thing that happened to me with ‘Heroes’ is happening to me with Arrow. I don’t like to watch TV shows when there are too many characters. (At the same time) I find it hard to care about any of the characters. And the characters that I used to care about are side lined. It’s so tiring to watch this show now.

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    1. I think that’s a really great point. Too many characters. When that happens I feel like the show has to try to cram so many people & moments for them all in that you feel like you’re spending time with none of them, so you can’t care about any of them. I totally think that’s a valid observation on Arrow.

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    2. Oh yeah! Heroes! Yep! Same thing happened there didn’t it? Yes, there truly are too many characters, and the show now centers around Oliver and Sara. I was given hope by the interview with David Ramsey, so hoping all of this is being done on purpose. But REALLY! Could this not have been accomplished in a shorter spans of time and in a far better, more entertaining way?

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  3. It does suck that Ollie kinda sucks right now, but it’s only season 2 and he really sucked before the Island, so I will give him room for regression. It’s all still believable to me even though it sucks. If it was totally OOC then they would lose me. Anyway, David Ramsey had some interesting quotes. I’m pretty hopeful Oliver will return..

    “Lastly, Diggle has been incredibly observant of Felicity’s dilemma with Oliver. What’s his take on the Oliver, Felicity and Sara situation?

    Diggle has noticed, as we know, since he’s talked to Oliver about it. Diggle’s heart is, in terms of [Oliver and Felicity’s] relationship ever forming, he thinks Oliver needs to grow up more. At this point, he probably knows Felicity is maybe too good for Oliver, only in the sense that I think that he knows that Oliver can be the man he should be. Right now, Diggle recognizes that Oliver needs to get his stuff together first before he can be with Felicity.”

    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/arrow-spoilers-david-ramsey-diggles-689413

    Isn’t this what we’ve all been saying?

    DR also had some things to say about getting back to the Original TeamArrow. I need to find that article.

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    1. “Nrama: Funny you mention them: there hasn’t been as much time for Diggle-Felicity interaction lately with the crowded Arrow Cave – anything coming up for the original pair of team members?

      Ramsey: Yes. We will get back to that. The writers are making a point of that. If it’s not the, it is one of the greatest strengths of the show, Team Arrow, the original members. Every time that you see them on a mission and Team Arrow has to coordinate and work together, you see this well-oiled, well-programmed unit working together. It’s always what the fans identify with most. I think it’s one of the biggest strengths of the show. The writers do, the producers do, and we’re getting back to that.

      You know, the big story of who Oliver Queen becomes: The Vigilante, The Arrow, and then Green Arrow – it’s a big story, there are a lot of places we will go in how we tell that story. The Arrow Cave will get fuller, and it will get emptier, but the core team will always remain intact. It’s what has saved Oliver’s life; without Diggle and Felicity, we wouldn’t have Oliver where he is emotionally or as a superhero at this point.”

      http://www.newsarama.com/20605-arrow-s-david-ramsey-talks-diggle-team-arrow-and-the-suicide-squad.html

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  4. Problematic shows are always more interesting than shows you like, because they reveal the flaws in storytelling that we need to look out for. I haven’t watched Arrow — I just started watching the first season of “Castle” that’s how behind I am — but I’m fascinated by breaking down stories and examining the parts.

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    1. You know, it’s a balance thing. If all we do is squee about how good a show is, that’s just annoying. If all I do is bitch about bad a show is, that’s just annoying. That’s why I like doing things like analyzing Leverage for community. We get somewhere and I learn something instead of just wondering about what’s going to happen next.

      But there’s also a lot to be said for following a show as it unfolds, talking about expectation and reversal, seeing how the writers structure stories and reacting to them without knowing what’s ahead. Plus it’s just fun to watch things with other people; we did that weekly on Popcorn Dialogues, and that was a lot of fun.

      In the end, I’m like you. I just want to find out how a story works (and doesn’t work).

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  5. I’m sorry the show is done for you. I remember you were going to give Suicide Squad a chance and because it was Dig’s episode, it seemed like they could only do so much harm.
    But you are right that the first 2 elements are no longer there. In this entire episode, I could almost hear a running commentary in my head about exactly what the producers wanted to accomplish in that scene. All the scenes with Sara, Laurel & Oliver… they were making it so that we didn’t hate Laurel anymore. So much so that any semblance of a character has so long been erased.
    And if the way they mistreated this character is any indication of their complete fear that fans will turn away… things aren’t good.
    I dearly miss the days when I could watch this show and not wonder about what the hell the producers are playing at. I’m so sad that it’s come to this. I don’t want to stick around to see how much more a mess they make.
    The way they completely reshape each of their characters and ignore all that they set up…
    I’m up for Person of Interest. I think CBS is a far more stable network that isn’t ruled by the whims of its viewers to the point of incoherence in their characters and storylines. A certain character’s death wasn’t even shied away from, and that’s impressive. They’ve managed to deliver a story with strong, consistent characters that you root for.
    Unlike the utter mess Arrow has become.

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    1. I got the feeling the objective from the Sara/Laurel/Oliver stuff was to erase Laurel’s anger at them thereby voiding the entire problem of Season 1. Then, once Sara goes (assuming she goes but it sure feels like she is), Laurel will want to pick up her Black Canary mantle and join Oliver’s fight against crime with them being friends on good ground, no more anger at each other. That way, if the show wants to, they can pull Oliver and Laurel back together again, which… yuck. The sister swapping thing just grosses me out.

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      1. The thing is, Laurel had *already* gotten past her anger with Sara and Oliver in the first season, which featured some great scenes between them. Of course, Sara being alive changes things a bit but Laurel’s personality has just done a 180 this season and I don’t buy it and it doesn’t work. (And I don’t even like the actress much at all. But the part was well-written. And now it’s not.

        And, like Jenny says, when the Suicide Squad is boring, you’ve got a problem. I can’t exist on the few scenes of Felicity in her cute jammies or a throwaway line from an off-screen Harley Quinn.

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        1. True, but given how Laurel has gone downhill, I almost don’t care if it’s someone different because I’m so sick of watching a miserable Laurel. (Still hate it for implausibility, mind you, but she wasn’t wasted and/or pissed off, so that was nice. Unrealistic, but nice.)

          Maybe they should pull a “had a head injury, forgot entire past, suddenly became a mobster’s bestie” sort of thing like they did on Jason on General Hospital yonks ago. Worked wonders for him….

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    2. When they make the Suicide Squad boring, they’ve lost me. Diggle is never boring, so there was that, but it was as if I could feel the writers in the background ticking off things on a list instead of watching an integrated story. And even those separate parts that didn’t combine to make a story line didn’t work. I fast forwarded to the end to see if that got better, and I really like the idea of a cyborg replacing Laurel because that can lead to some very interesting plots, not to mention playing to Laurel’s strengths as she tries to escape whatever basement they have the real Laurel tied up in, but even then the dialog was bad, plus how could Sara and Oliver not notice that that wasn’t Laurel?

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  6. Yeah Oliver was really whiny and quite annoying in this episode, but I dont see how Sara whiny?. Instead of pitying herself that Slade Wilson was alive and that she was likely one of his top targets, she wasn’t whining about it or losing sleep over it. Instead she was calm and trying to help Oliver shake his fear away.

    I love the Oliver/Diggle/Felicity trio dynamic but this a comic book show Roy & Canary were always going to join the team at some point in the show. The show has a contract with its comic book source. Thats the contract as an audience we also signed, when we accepted to watch a comic book adaptation.

    @SashaThe original Team Arrow was actually Oliver/Dinah/Roy if we look at where it all began in the comics, but Im not complaining I understand that Oliver/Diggle/Felicity are the main trio in the series, (well right now, you never know shows change over the years). This is a contract I signed up for a show thats also has its own original canon, so its 50/50, Ok maybe not that equally split it could be 60/40, 80/30. Sticking to “original” Team Arrow leaves other characters underdeveloped and underused. Lets leave Sara out for a second, since I dont know what her fate will be by season end. What about Roy who is a series regular, what are they supposed to do with him, if he is not part of the Arrow team. Shows change, they evolve. But I understand we all dont have to like that change.

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    1. You know, that’s true. I would have said Sarah was whiny, but you’re right, the first part I saw was her being calm. I think it may have been the way they’ve written her in the past. When she and Oliver had their first conversation in this episode, I remember thinking, “I don’t LIKE these people,” and that had nothing to do with what they were actually saying, I think it’s just cumulative from previous episodes.

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      1. That’s my biggest problem right now. “I don’t like these people!” is the refrain in my head when the majority of them are on the screen and that includes Oliver Queen, the main protagonist. If this was a book? I’d have closed it and moved on already.

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  7. Usually I don’t rage quit watching unless I was heavily invested. With Arrow, the thing that got me interested was the possibility of great stories and other characterssuperheroes being integrated into the show. I stayed, like many because of Felicity. Because the show has made me think that he doesn’t deserve Felicity, I’ve regressed to just wanting to see who they bring in next week or the week after ( a la huntress, suicide squad, even the Flash). I don’t know if you watch Supernatural at all, but that show has made me rage quit watching and then start re watching it so many times I have feelings I shouldn’t have for any TV show ever. I think what that’s taught me is that there is a reason I invested time into a show, sometimes all you need is to let the entire story be played out because some lot lines on character development just needs to be resolved so they can come back to what originally made it good. I’m going to go ahead and predict that Arrow will move on from this by Season 3 episode 5-8. If it hasn’t then it really is not our show anymore.

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    1. I hope that’s true, but for now I’m done. I’ll catch up at the end of the season so I can fast forward through the stuff that annoys me, but the bottom line for me is that last night, about fifteen minutes in, I thought, “I don’t want to watch this.” I shouldn’t be talking about a show I don’t like; that’s just bashing. It’s one thing to criticize a show I like for a weak episode, another thing to just keep saying, “I don’t like this show and I’ve lost faith that the people behind it know what they’re doing.” I think you say that once and then shut up about the show. Because Season 3, Episode 5 is what? Ten episodes from now?

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  8. Grey’s Anatomy was the show that I gave up on in frustration. I think it was a couple of seasons ago that there was a plane crash or something for the season finale and while having a finale for a medical show be a disaster situation is not an issue, always having your medical characters directly involved in it is too repetitive. Further, having those characters then die felt like lazy writing – a lazy way to get rid of a character. Even in a TV show I’d like there to be a really good narrative reason for killing off a major character. There are so many ways to effect a shift in plot or character development w/o just killing them off. Plus, Christine, a supposedly whip-smart surgical resident, got accidentally pregnant– again. How does this even happen to a medical professional? Once, *maybe*, but twice?

    I’ve heard a lot of good things about Person of Interest. I might give that show a go.

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    1. I’m starting to think it always comes down to character (I know, “duh”), but that the second thing is when you can see the writers working behind the story, when the easiest answer to “Why did that happen?” is “because the writers were trying to solve this plot problem.”

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      1. Laurel giving relationship advice to both Sara and Oliver took me completely out of the story because I could see the writers were trying to 1. make Laurel sympathetic, and 2. putting a ‘seal of approval’ on Sara/Oliver by having Laurel not only accept their relationship, but now be invested in it. So I was rolling my eyes hard instead of buying the story they were telling.

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  9. Most recently, “Once Upon a Time.” Loved the first season. Saw maybe two or three episodes of the second season and stopped dead. Every now and then I see a synopsis of an upcoming show and remember why I quit. “Someone has to quest to go find something. Someone else loses their memory, maybe again. Don’t bother liking any relationships, ever, because they won’t last more than a short story arc. And here’s the character that we’re gong to make you like this week whether you want to or not because you have to, you just have to.”

    Most shows I just gradually lose interest in. The last one I made a point of quitting was “Smallville,” from the sheer loss of potential.

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    1. Oh Smallville – If I hadn’t binged watched the entire 10 seasons (on x2) I would never have stuck with it. Completely agree that it had huge potential but ended up being frustrating because that potential was never realized for me.

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    2. I wanted to like Once Upon A Time, but realized that:
      (a) I hate Regina and she is one of the main characters of the show and will never die, and I can’t watch a show if I desperately want a main character to die (also see The Originals). They’d try to humanize her and then go, “Never mind, she’s eeeeevil!” Oh fucking hell, it’s the 2010’s, don’t pull that shit.
      (b) Emma just got dumber and dumber around Regina.
      (c) Henry is too precious for words.
      (d) They killed off the hot guy.

      I like Snow White and I’d be interested in seeing how this world develops, but when you hate this many main characters, you just can’t watch a show. I can still watch Arrow for the time being because I haven’t started flat out hating Oliver yet, but that day is probably coming. I’ve always been pretty neutral about him/watching for everyone else though.

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  10. I’m done, too. You know it’s bad when your favorite scene is Felicity giving Diggle hot chocolate, and you watch Deadshot and Diggle and think, “Spin those two off. I’ll watch them.”

    I really can’t watch Oliver and Sara together. Or Oliver and Laurel. I thought the storytelling was ALL over the place. They hyped the Suicide Squad and then gave me relationship drama. No thanks, Arrow.

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    1. I think trying to squeeze in a subplot during the Suicide Squad story made it really disjointed. I think it would have been better for me if they’d just committed to Diggle & the Suicide Squad’s mission for the entire episode and just left everything else out.

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    2. I, too, thought Felicity and Diggle and the hot chocolate scene was great: it moved the plot while reinforcing character and showing that partnership in a little more detail. Diggle knows where she lived, she brings him hot chocolate because it’s cold. But even in that, I thought, “WTF?” She tells him that he doesn’t need to watch her because if Slade wants her dead, she’s dead anyway? That makes NO sense. Also, sweet as the hot chocolate was, hot milk makes people sleepy, so really, Felicity, black coffee for the guy who’s watching your back and who’s probably going to be fighting a sociopath shortly.

      Oh and Deadshot was great.

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  11. I am just so sad. The show had enormous potential, and the writers chose to throw it all away. I think I may not make my goal of watching through May. I feel as though the character of Sara has completely ruined my favorite show. I liked the show in the beginning well enough, but I fell in love early this season with Team Arrow and couldn’t wait to see the next episode. While it started to go down with the Laurel arc, it was the lunge that killed it for me. I hope the writers can get back to the show we loved, but I think I’m going to set it out for awhile. My heart can’t take it.

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    1. The reintroduction of the Lance Family drama really bogged down the show for me. It was doing pretty well til they started shoehorning that back in. Blah.

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  12. Ugh. So sad and so true. I was ‘meh’ about the first few episodes in S1, then Felicity appeared, Team Arrow was born and I was hooked. I loved the character dynamics and the development. The first half of S2 was stellar tv. Now it ‘Days of Our Superheroes’. If I wanted to watch a soap, I would. It’s actually quite a gift to have completely changed my mind about your main protagonist in so few episodes! I also liked Sara, but whinging, entitled, self-centred vigilante gf of whinging, entitled, self-centred and heartless vigilante? Nope, I’ve got other things I’d rather do with my time than be subjected to character assassination on this scale. They tore the heart out of the show, sidelined the characters that made Ollie (Oliver has vanished, in my opinion) likeable and pulled the rug out from under us in terms of the expectations they have set up for those characters for the last year or so. Plus, when I find the Ollie and Sara scenes so annoying and unconvincing that I fast forward through them, then I think I’m done.

    That is the main reason I gave up on ‘Castle’, which was my favourite tv programme of the last few years. I used to be obsessed with it (mainly because of Nathan Fillion, to be honest!) and I loved it for several seasons. However, the characters have increasingly been driven by the plot and the need to create artificial angst and drama that just don’t ring true. The characterisation is so off that it feels like a different show sometimes. They have diminished the main protagonist’s personality to that of a foil for Det. Beckett, as the showrunner seems so obsessed with her that he wants it to be the ‘Beckett’ show, not ‘Castle, just as we are now getting the ‘Ollie and Sara’ show. Also, the ridiculous repetition of certain tropes, such as the interrupted kissing, and the formulaic nature of the case of the week, make it boring and predictable. But, mainly, it’s the way the characters are now portrayed, as well as the lack of any real passion or romance between them, that has driven away most people I know who watched it.

    When you create a certain fictional world, you better have a great reason for changing fundamental things about it; something that feels organic and real. When you start manipulating certain elements, just for plot creation purposes, or to change what kind of story it is, then you will lose me. Don’t tell me O chose Sara over Shado, when he clearly didn’t, don’t pretend there was no chemistry between O and Felicity, don’t make Castle a shallow scaredy cat doofus who’s not all in in the relationship, when he’d shown such growth as a person for 4 seasons, and don’t showcase the chemistry and connection between characters we love, only to wreck it. Be consistent and remember that your audience is smart and knows what happened before.

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    1. I gave up on Castle because of the stupidity and the increasing focus on Beckett. I found it annoying and strange that she was always the lead detective and the other two detectives were akin to assistants. Aren’t all detectives in a precinct paired up and working on different cases?

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    2. Yeah, I gave up on Castle because Beckett just got on my nerves. I tuned back in a for awhile there recently when she suddenly wanted to work with the FBI and I was just like, No. Nope. Not doing it. This is stupid. She hated the FBI now suddenly it was her lifelong dream to work with them? And the way she handled Castle in that little story arc was just… grrrrr. Haven’t been back since. I won’t even talk about the stupidity of Pi.

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      1. I don’t see the point of Sudden Job Offer plots that will Shake Up The Show that can’t actually work because they’d destroy the premise of the show. Why waste our time? I didn’t give a crap about the whole FBI thing because she’d be back like nothing happened in a few episodes. I was just waiting for that shit to end.

        I still watch Castle, but am not madly in love with it. Mostly I’m there for the geek moments and especially the geek crimes. They are not the best at serious episodes and I kind of wish they’d drop trying those.

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    3. “When you create a certain fictional world, you better have a great reason for changing fundamental things about it; something that feels organic and real.”

      This. I’ve watched shows that evolved and were the better for it, shows like Person of Interest, and I’ve watched shows that had a clear story arc and deliberately ended when the arc was done, like the UK Life on Mars. It’s the same in any long story: you have to change things up or people get bored, but you can’t alter the core of the story or you kill it. That’s why stories with linear structure have turning points. But you have to hold onto that central idea.

      It makes me think of Leverage, since that show is on my mind right now. In Season Two, the actress playing Sophie got pregnant, so they had to write in this dumb subplot about Sophie leaving to find out who she is and bring in another actress to fill the hole in the team. They were smart about it; they made Tara different from Sophie (she’s only in it for the money, she uses sex a lot more blatantly that Sophie does), and they kept the focus on the team, how they deal with Sophie’s absence, how they work with Tara as an outsider. Plus they kept Sophie present in the stories with phone calls and with the team members talking about her. They pretty much did everything they could to say, “Listen, this is an interruption in the story contract, we’re not breaking it.) And that, I think, was very smart because we signed on for the team as a whole. But it’s still my least favorite stretch of the show because I want that team.

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  13. I’m almost heading that way to be frank. All I can think about Arrow ever since 2×11 were all bad things that I hated on seeing in a tv shows happens. It amazed me how the first half season 2 episodes were so damn good and when they started shoving the so-called Laurel or Lance whatever centric arc, thing go downright spiral.
    The thing about Arrow, they have great casts (regular ones), awesome kiss-ass villains, awesome stunt work and hey back then it use to be a plot, a nice one too but funny among the things they can focus on improving, they ended up choosing the romantic plot focus, which they are so so really suck at it.

    I always avoided love triangle kind of story whenever I picked up a series but when Arrow did that in first season with Oliver/Laurel/Tommy, it was not that bad until they reached the last few episodes toward the end (luckily for me) and season two, the moment they started the Sara Lance, the new “guest star turns to sudden main regular character, off paper”, things had gone so wrong especially when they started to show Sara in everywhere they can to me.

    I know that Arrow have problem in handling regular screen time especially the ladies. To be honest, Rickards recurring in Season 1 have more screen time compare to Rickards regular in Season 2 episode 2×11 until 2×16. And Laurel had it worst even (which I kind of now understand Laurel’s fan feeling). The fact they tried to shove throat all the guest star character, Sara makes me starts to hate her and I actually like her when she first appear in 2×05. but now I have to skip the scene, which makes me not watching at all because of her conquering most of the screen time of one episode.

    I am only sticking for the show because of Felicity, Team Arrow and the kiss- ass villains and also Olicity. But the show is no longer doing me the favor in making me to be interested. They keep shoving all the wrong things to us and expected us to like it, which is kind of sad. I’m only giving them chances until end of season two. If they really messed up Felicity, then I will be done for sure.

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  14. I loved the Diggle and Felicity scene, but in the back of my head was ‘Um, why doesn’t O think she needs protecting? Why did he cry over Sara but seem to forget about anyone else?!’ I just cannot watch O and S scenes, not least because her wooden way of saying dialogue is distracting. It feels like they are not the characters I learned to care about. His emotional almost breakdown left me cold (and rolling my eyes with irritation, hoping we’d see more of the Suicide Squad and less of the teen romance in leather nonsense), whereas Red watching the ballet on ‘The Blacklist’ made me tear up. I even felt a little choked up when the Cowboy died! So ‘The B’ made me care about a minor character more than the ‘Arrow’ writers did about the main protagonist? Something is wrong with this picture.

    I will stop watching and then binge watch later if I hear things have turned around. It would be hard to give up on F and Diggle totally. But I know that, if they have Sara die (please!), then any relationship between O and F, or anyone else, will be ‘second best’, unless they do more retcon and pretend that they haven’t been trying to make us see that the Whinging Vigilantes have an ‘epic’ romance! Some people on Tumblr think he’s going to hook up with Harley Quinn next, as she’s ‘a woman and she’s not Moira, Thea or Felicity’! Lol but no, thank you!

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    1. Actually a relationship with Harley Quinn could be a good thing for Oliver. A short affair with real crazy could be a nice reset back into common sense. And there’s a chance it wouldn’t be boring unless the writers kneecap her character, too.

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  15. I’ve never watched Arrow, so I have not take on it. But I have had this reaction to other shows in the past, and I think it always boils down to one thing: the writers seem to forget what the show is supposed to be about. Leverage worked for me throughout because they never forgot the caper was the thing. Whatever was going on with the characters, it happened around the caper. That was the promise they made with their audience with the very first episode, season one, and they kept the promise.

    A show I dumbed would be Burn Notice. Again it was basically a caper show, and the characters were written rather large, but you knew they were in it to help people, and maybe make some money while they were at it, and they would defeat the bad guy, that was the promise made in episode 1. But after the first few seasons it became all about Michael’s obsession to the point where he let his team down, and at that point he was not longer a hero figure. It’s bad when you start rooting for the bad guys to put a character out of his misery.

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    1. Burn Notice is a great example for this. I’d forgotten about that one. I, too, bowed out of that show for the same reasons you mentioned. Used to love it. Dumped it. Didn’t go back til the final 2 or 3 eps.

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    2. Oh, wow; apologies for all the typos up there. I shouldn’t type before I’ve had my second cup of coffee.

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    3. I agree that Burn Notice changed up a bit and lagged, especially any time Michael actually got back in with the CIA, but I think that was because part of the contract (for me, at least) was that Michael was an outsider fighting the good fight when the law failed (or, as my husband astutely called it once, “Three-man Leverage,” with the team being Mike, Sam, and Fi). Adding Jesse and giving Madeline more of a role, adding and removing Nate periodically, etc. all helped a bit, but the story did start to get weaker when Michael’s obsession overtook his good sense. But given that a lot of what drives Michael is his need to set things right, I think it does make sense for the character to poison his personal relationships because of his need for The Truth.

      I’ve been re-rewatching Burn Notice (good background noise when grading papers) and I’m working my way back to the latest (last?) season; all I remember clearly is that Michael was back in the CIA for real at the close of the last season I watched, and I’m mostly tuning in for Sam and Fi and to see if they can come up with any good storylines now that Michael’s back in (which should be the end of the series if they’re just solving the original problem… what will the whole next season be about?!?).

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  16. For me, drama and sci-fi shows are about stories and characters. Good guys or bad guys, I need to like the people making up the ensemble.
    This show has devolved into a boring and angsty mess. The charm and humour has vanished along with the focus on Team Arrow. Most of the characters have become unlikeable and the interesting ones, like Officer Lance, Felicity and Diggle, are being sidelined.
    I guess I’ll give up soon enough.

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    1. That’s a good point: this show used to be charming, something that made me smile at the screen even if the scene wasn’t funny. And now it feels strident, as if the writers are trying too hard. You have to make it look easy even though writing story is really hard.

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  17. I feel like this is a cautionary tale for what happens when a writer or more likely showrunner in this case falls too “in love” with a character and the actress playing that character. Sara was an interesting character when she showed up: strong but flawed and easy to like, lately I have to fight not to fast forward through any scene she is in (mostly because I would miss most of the show) but it’s hard.
    Someone else made a great observation that since her return the “Oliver” that we love and root for has been replaced by “Ollie” who I really just want to punch in the unmentionables when he gets whiny and obtuse. (As an aside I want to start a petition that the only person who gets call him Ollie is Thea, any one with me?)
    NCIS: LA has a similar problem in that Shane Brennan loves and I mean LOVES the character of Callen so very much that it can make the show very tedious at times. Fortunately Callen is a main character so it is somewhat expected and the writers have done a great job not letting the other characters be overshadowed. It always makes me leery when the people who produce and write the show start showing obvious favoritism toward a character, especially ones I’ve previously enjoyed because it inevitably turns into a “how to ruin a good character in 5 easy steps” tutorial. I’m still keeping my fingers crossed that the show will get back on course, but I’m just going to dvr all the episodes just in case for easy deletion if not.

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    1. That’s often pointed out as the big flaw in the Peter Wimsey mysteries by Dorothy Sayers. She was so clearly in love with her main character that he could do no wrong. She was writing Golden Age mysteries so she could get away with it, but people still noticed. The same thing happened for me with the Jonathan Gash mystery series about Lovejoy. Lovejoy was a great anti-hero in the beginning, and then Gash lost his grip because he clearly thought Lovejoy was the Best Guy Ever and the rest of the series became unreadable for me.

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      1. The writer who took over the Peter Wimsey mysteries killed it for me in the 3rd book she wrote.

        Jean Auel’s Earth’s Children series is another one. Yeah, she wrote a lot about the flora and fauna. Some of it damn near copies word for word from one book to the next. But that last volume was just so so SO horrible. Ayla not able to tell the difference between her own meds after explaining explicitly how she did that in an earlier book; Jondular cheating on her; the horrible start to patriarchal societies. I didn’t realize until just now that I’m so disappointed with it because she DID break the character contract, repeatedly, in that last book. I just knew it was WRONG. I have absolutely no desire to reread it. And I’ve destroyed several of the previous books with rereading them.

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  18. Another reason I’m losing interest? Look, I could just barely accept before that Detective Lance didn’t realize who the vigilante was because he didn’t really interact with Ollie much. Now he’s seeing both on a regular basis, and his daughter (whom he knows to be running around in tights) shows up with the Arrow about as often as she hangs around Ollie. When characters act stupid, I go away.

    One of the reasons I’m really enjoying “Hannibal” (bingewatching the 1st season now) is because every time something odd has happened and I or my wife wonder aloud, why don’t they…? The VERY NEXT LINE in the episode, someone onscreen wonders the same thing, or does something that explains it. Treat your audience as intelligent, and then outthink them, and you’ll keep me forever.

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    1. ‘Treat your audience as intelligent, and then outthink them, and you’ll keep me forever.’ – C.A. Bridges

      That’s it! They seem to pride themselves on pretending that things never happened.
      Maybe it’s the comic book thing, but their constant worry to define anything is so destructive. They’ve retconned the whole Sara-Oliver relationship and know I don’t know whether to believe all of S1 when Laurel was the love of his life, or now… when Sara’s… I don’t even know what??
      They’ve left too much of ‘I don’t understand why this is happening’ and haven’t bothered to explain any of it. It’s like the story threads they keep introducing but never tying up. It makes you think, ‘Oh, so they’ll explain this eventually, right?’ And then you wait and wait but nothing is explained or resolved, their changes aren’t even addressed.

      The writers and producers of Arrow don’t treat their audience as intelligent. They want us to forget everything they’ve set up because they seem to have done that themselves. (The Roy-Sara already training as if they’ve known each other for months when they were introduced to each other the episode before is one of those things that just…*grits teeth*) The Roy-Black Canary scene in the beginning of the season when she tied him up and proceeded to interrogate him… that’s all forgotten? The foundry magically restored… so many things that just add up…

      They leave too many holes in the story that they don’t address and then treat us like idiots for asking for an explanation.

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      1. I think there’s a basic lack of understanding of the contract with the audience, the idea that any story is a collaboration. They seem to think that the audience is passive, just accepting whatever’s thrown at them even though they have plenty of evidence to the contrary.

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    2. I think we’re going to find out very soon that Quentin knew all along and was just keeping quiet and playing dumb about Oliver being Arrow.

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      1. That would be nice. I always hope this kind of thing (ditto Jebediah on The Tomorrow People, because that particular character just cannot be that big of a fool to buy his nephew as one of the world’s shoddiest moles), but with these writers…we can’t exactly hold our breaths on it.

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    3. “Treat your audience as intelligent, and then outthink them, and you’ll keep me forever.”

      There you go.

      One of the most annoying things about Arrow for me was that confusing story lines and character violations were explained away by the spokespeople for the show by saying, “You’ll just have to wait and see; we have a plan.” Do not pat me on the head and tell me I just have to wait and see. Tell the damn story.

      I’ve been avoiding Hannibal because bleah, but it has nothing but great buzz everywhere I read. I can cope with a serial killer; it’s the cannibalism that I bar.

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      1. What bugged me lately, Jenny, about the show people explaining things away & not having it match the screen just played out in this last episode and I was waiting for it.

        Oliver tells Felicity: I can’t be with anyone I can really care about because of the life that I lead. Awww, sad, but okay. I can see that, right? Right.

        Oliver hooks up with Sara in a 10 second WTF lunge. WTF?

        Show people explain (in interviews, off the screen and never on the screen) that this hookup and relationship is okay because Oliver knows Sara can handle herself. He doesn’t have to be afraid of anything happening to her. Wha?! That made no sense but oookay, whatever.

        Suicide Squad airs. Oliver tells Sara they have to break up because he’s afraid of the danger to her and that she’ll be targeted because of the life that he leads. The same dangerous life that he, several episodes before, made him tell Felicity he couldn’t be with anybody he could really care about.

        What the……????? What was the point of any of that? There was none. No logic. No follow through. Worse yet, the spokespeople explaining that away got it wrong because 2 seconds later they’re busting out the “my life is too dangerous” on the screen so even the explanation doesn’t make sense. LOL. It’s just… wow. This is a hot mess of mess. I just keep thinking: What the heck happened to this show because *something* has drastically changed somewhere.

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        1. I haven’t given up on DOWNTON ABBEY (but haven’t seen season 4 yet), but that’s certainly one where I -loved- the first season, and have been prety “meh” ever since. I felt like Julian Fellowes, who wrote it (and who’ the author of two novels I love, btw), really had a story to tell, a subject he wanted to explore, and a set of clearcut characters for it. And it works really well.

          But I have felt, when watching seasons 2 &3, as if they were not compelling stories he felt driven to tell, but rather, he had to “come up with stuff” because he struck gold with the first season and everyone wanted more, more, MORE! I thought seasons 2 & 3 had good moments here and there, but were mostly rather silly and sometimes tedious melodrama in period costume. (This has a lot to do with why I haven’t watched S4 yet. It’s in my Netflix queue, but since I’m not excited about it, it’s still nowhere near the top of the queue.)

          Whereas I liked season 1 so much I watched it twice (possibly 3 times–I can’t remember now), because it was a really absorbing story.

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          1. I think Julian Fellowes did have some ideas beyond Season 1: to me the show is about the crumbling of the British aristocracy, which is a historical subject that I’ve always wanted to learn more about. (These people all had money for centuries, and now there are members of the House of Lords who drive a bus for a living? How’d that happen?) I think he’s done fairly well with those big historical themes, although Michael’s getting in wrong with German brownshirts felt a little too pat. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfl6Lu3xQW0) The family drama has been more uneven, though I think that’s partly because he keeps getting kneecapped by actors’ leaving.

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        2. The fact they needed to fix our opinion as the audience tick me off as well. Trolling is one thing but trying to be audience police just makes me stop believing in whatever the show team says anymore. Heck I don’t even believe their trailer even now. The only thing they can now impressed me is how they can make me watch the whom 40 minutes show without fast forwarding it.

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      2. One of the things I’ve admired about Hannibal is that while the violence and utter and complete horror are there, it has avoided sexualising the violence in a way that most other procedurals do not.

        It manages to be a visually beautiful show too (Bryan Fuller makes this pretty much a given).

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      3. I would probably watch Hannibal except for the fact that I don’t ever, ever, ever want to watch anything about the character of Hannibal Lecter.

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  19. “…and I got bitchier, which helps nobody”
    Hmmm,that’s probably something I should remind myself of frequently.

    Give up on a show? Yeah, Downton Abbey. Not that I was ever hooked on it, but I liked the costumes and Maggie Smith and some of the staff. I was willing to watch each episode once only, but really, they were doing nothing that hadn’t already been done on Upstairs Downstairs 40 years ago, and done better.

    But partway through episode 2 of Season 4 I just turned it off. Fed up with all the dithering and betrayals and self-centredness and Thomas, etc. etc.

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    1. I think I’ve given up on Downton too. It was episode 3 of season 4 and the aftermath that did it for me. Downton was never what you’d call character driven, but the attack on Anna and the drama between her and Bates seemed like a particularily cheap plot twist. Or maybe it was just the last straw. I always knew the writers were manipulative but I put up with it for the costumes and the dialog and the pure fun. But it’s not fun anymore.

      It’s too bad, because it had moments of greatness. The episode where Thomas was (almost) fired for being gay was so powerful (except for the dumb ending a year later).

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  20. On the positive side, the writers of The Mentalist have refound themselves. Thank goodness. The last episode was good and the next looks reeeally good.

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  21. The whole episode made me sick to my stomach. I couldn’t even concentrate on Diggle part of the episode because I was hating so much any scene with Oliver and Sara. The core of the show, Team Arrow is gone. I really don’t like where the show is going anymore. It makes me sad because I loved it so much. It used to be so good but now, it just feel weird and odd. I just hope they still can turn it around but I don’t have much faith in the EP.

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  22. It’s funny i was talking about this to my friends yesterday and we all feel the same. It’s incredible how this show used to be so great and addictive and seemed to have it all great stories, great characters and great actors and their chemistry and in a couple of episodes they ruined everything. Only thing i still care about is Felicity and Diggle but that is not enough. So what was the point of laurel down-spirale thing that took over last 4, 5 episodes? She went to rehab, forgave Sara, now she’s doing couples therapy for her sister and her ex-boyfriend. And Oliver and Sara… i don’t want to get started on that. Perfect example how you can ruin a show when trying so hard to follow comic canon. I think someone should explain to executive producers that comics are one-dimensional comparing to tv and if they keep up this ‘good’ work, chances are that season 3 will be the last one. I get it that you like comics but 90% of tv audience isnn’t and just goes with the flow and we don’t care about ga and bc pairing and stuff. Anyway, i’m done too. I know i said i’ll wait till the end of the season but i can’t. I’m too scared of what are they going to do with Felicity and i don’t want to be angry. Tv shows are ment to provide relief.

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  23. I loved Arrow. I mean LOVED it. It came as a total shock to me because I didn’t expect to like it when I first tuned in. Though to be fair we all know the show wobbled a lot in those first few episodes as they tweaked it but still. I was totally intrigued enough to come back and keep coming back. Like you, Jenny, I got totally hooked in by that bit player (Felicity) and her connection with the lead (Oliver) and after that, I was a goner. As you said: wonderful show, terrific cast, I’m a fan. Excited about each and every week. Weeeee! I haven’t had that kind of tv watching in a long, long time.

    Things have changed in recent episodes and I, too, am kind of amazed by how I went from Weeeee! to Eh in only a handful of episodes. It’s not that I hate the show — I can still enjoy a lot of the episodes if I don’t think about it too hard — but my enthusiasm for it has waned greatly to the point I have to think to myself as I finger that remote control button, “Do I really care about watching this episode or can I skip this one?”

    I totally agree with your list about what works for Arrow. Oliver fighting crime, being that flawed good guy, Team Arrow (Oliver, Felicity, Diggle), Moira, and the Bad Guys. I even like Quentin when he’s allowed to be the 4th hand helping the team.

    A few episodes back the show was still really good. I was excited about it. But then they hit that patch (starting with the lunge) and from there out it felt like very little made sense. I don’t know this Oliver. I don’t understand him. I don’t get what people are doing. Things feel disjointed.

    I’m not sure if, when I find myself confused, it’s because the writers haven’t bothered to put something on the screen to explain it or if it’s supposed to be a hint at something in the past that we don’t know about yet. The Amanda Waller/Oliver scene at the end of last night’s ep is a perfect example. It sounded like she & Oliver were both involved in Slade’s death. I’m still not sure if I understood that right.

    I have offline and online friends all saying the same thing to me, stuff like, “I don’t like Oliver anymore. What happened to him? This thing with the sisters is stupid, when is it going to end? The girlfriend is annoying. When is she going away? I miss Felicity. Don’t they have any way to involve her in this story?”

    I think my main problem with the last handful of episodes is it breaks so strongly from everything it was *before* this. Before, Arrow was a fast paced, neck-breaking show. Now, ever since the Threat Of Slade loomed in the present, the show ground to a halt. They’ve spent how many episodes just baiting the Threat Of Slade in the last 10 seconds while pretty much nothing happened in the other 44 minutes except people worrying about the Threat Of Slade. The Suicide Squad did it (Oliver worrying the whole hour with really nothing happening). The Promise did it (Oliver worrying the whole hour about Slade while wandering around the house getting an art lesson). Time of Death did it at the end. And before that it was Threat Of Slade teases at the very end in Heir To The Demon (which was a pretty great episode until the out of the blue lunge at the end).

    Toss in breaks for the Olympics and breaks for basketball… it just didn’t help the momentum at all.

    I think I was actually disappointed in the Suicide Squad. I like Diggle. I think he’s a great character. I actually liked Deadshot a lot as well. I found them very interesting men on 2 sides of the same coin. But I don’t know, was it just me? I thought the episode – considering they’re called the Suicide Squad – to be kind of boring. Not enough action? Danger? I’m still not sure. Every time I looked up it seemed like everybody was standing around talking and I couldn’t find a reason to connect enough to care. And then Amanda Waller turned into a supreme witch I hope dies soon. I think Diggle and Lyla are pretty good together but they started to lose me with her too until she backed Diggle up at the end.

    But yeah. I think the main problem is Arrow, even though it’s busy “doing stuff” on the screen, it feels like busy work. It feels like they popped the cork on the Slade thing too soon and then didn’t know how to bridge it from that present day reveal with the voice over (which was awesome!) to the point we are now. That was a lot of episodes to mill around in place and I think the show is suffering from it.

    I’m not at all interested in the Huntress returning next week. I don’t care about Sara/Black Canary or her plight to save her sister. So next week feels like something I could skip. Oh and one other thing that was a huge WTF? on the show last night. Laurel suddenly not only being OK with Oliver and Sara dating but giving them dating advice. Really, Arrow? Really?! Gag. Talk about ridiculous. I just cringed my way through every single second of that stuff.

    I’m trying to think if there was anything I actually liked about last night. I liked that Diggle finally got some focus. I liked the debate over doing bad things for the right reasons, when lines are crossed, if there’s a difference between what ARGUS is doing an what Arrow & Team are doing. I liked those conversations. But other than that I was surprised by how bored I was.

    Now to your end question, have I ever fallen out of love with a show… Psych is a great example. I loved that show. It’s so funny. It’s ending now (last episode next week) and I’m totally ready for it to fade to black. They’re just so hamming this up to the point it’s making me cringe, plus the way they’re ending it is just going to ruin everything. I don’t like it. I’d have done it differently. But instead I fear they’re going to go for sad and poignant and this is Psych! I didn’t want sad and poignant. I wanted fun and funny. So yeah, I’m out of love with that show.

    I had another piss me off so bad I stopped watching cold turkey. That was General Hospital. After screwing up all the stories I liked, screwing over all the characters I liked, and going through a writers strike, staff turn over, staff turn over again, and saddling the show with a head writer who apparently hated all the characters I liked and loved all the ones I didn’t…. I flipped it off and never went back. That ended a good 10+ years of watching for me in one afternoon.

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    1. Julie, preach!! The only scene I liked last night was Felicity and Diggle in the car. It made me love Felicity even more. The rest of the show was either boring or torturous. I’m finally on the verge of giving up General Hospital because I just don’t care any more. I’ve watched it since I was a child, so it’s really just habit at this point, but I can’t take it any more. There’s not one character I like enough for me to watch. It just took much longer to get me there than Arrow did.

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      1. The only scene I liked last night was Felicity and Diggle in the car. It made me love Felicity even more. The rest of the show was either boring or torturous’.

        Exactly! The rest seemed like they were paddling frantically to stand still. Whereas this week’s Blacklist spent less than a hour and moved the story on hugely, while showing great and unexpected development for two main characters, while the two leads weren’t even in it that much. And it totally worked and didn’t feel rushed or shallow. Two perfect examples for a class on how to and how not to write a story.

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        1. I think it worked first because of the terrific writing, but also because the events in the episode had real consequences for Red and Liz. They were both in the episode so they didn’t just disappear, but they were also both concerned for Ressler, so they were emotionally involved. I think the most enthralling thing for me was the relationship between Red and Ressler, Red telling him that once he went into that dark place, he wouldn’t come out, Ressler not caring, and then Red acting in the end, off screen, to make sure Ressler didn’t go. In spite of all the violence and the bloodshed, it was truly touching. I think too many shows think violence and death are enough to create tension, but the truth is, if the violence doesn’t have consequences, if the deaths don’t matter, then you can slaughter thousands and nobody will care. The people who died in this episode weren’t people we cared about, but the consequences of those deaths are going to be huge for the people we do care about. Brilliant writing.

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          1. Is that the problem with the last few episodes of Arrow, Jenny? There are no consequences at the end of the episodes. Slade mills around the Queen house. Oliver mills, moodily, around town. Nothing changes.

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          2. I think it’s one of the problems. The characters aren’t changing, they’re just talking. A lot. They do things, but nothing they do changes who they are, so it feels as though nothing is happening. The changes don’t have to be huge, but they should be evident in something that happens on the screen, not in what they say later. Arrow’s problem (one of them) is that it has a central character who doesn’t change for several episodes and then who suddenly does something inexplicable and changes in a big way without motivation and then who goes back to not changing, so that it feels as if he’s lurching.

            When I read the Tumblr stuff on Arrow, I saw several places where people had posted Amell’s Facebook post saying he thought it was good that viewers didn’t like his character. He had an explanation, but he’s missing the point. It’s okay if viewers don’t like what your protagonist does; Red’s done some things that shocked me, Root has arranged the deaths of innocent people, Fusco’s killed on orders from corrupt higher-ups, nobody’s whitewashing any of that, and I am still invested in those characters. But if viewers/readers don’t like the character, not the protagonist’s actions but who he is as a person, you have a problem.

            People watch shows and read books with weak plots if they really like the main characters (The Mentalist and Castle come to mind along with the later books in some long-running series). But they won’t watch or read stories centered on characters they don’t like watching or reading. If somebody says, “I don’t like X but I can’t keep my eyes off him,” you have a successful story. If somebody says, “X bores me and I skip ahead in the book or fast forward when I see him,” you have a problem. If X is your protagonist, you have a disaster. Which is why I think the most significant thing about most of those Tumblr posts was how everybody, without exception, loved Diggle. There were no anti-Diggle posts. That’s because Diggle, through his actions on the screen, has become the de facto hero of Arrow, not the protagonist, that’s Oliver, but the hero, the guy you can count on, they guy who makes mistakes but then fixes them, the guy who looks out for Felicity, the guy who tries really hard to do the right thing even if the right thing means working with his brother’s killer. Diggle changes in the episode because he connects to Deadshot; it’s a small change but it’s significant. Diggle has an argument with his love interest because he disagrees with her about something that is not about their relationship but about something crucial in the story. Diggle is doing what Oliver used to do, so people are attaching to him. If you create a vacuum in your story, people will fill it. They didn’t like Laurel as a love interest so they filled in with Felicity. Oliver has become an arrogant jerk, but there’s Diggle, still quiet and strong and smart and observant. The other really common thread on Tumblr was how many people liked that one minute scene in the car between Diggle and Felicity, the friendship there. The show runners have been selling the Oliver/Laurel and then Oliver/Sara romances, but the majority of the reaction is for the Diggle/Felicity friendship. That’s a major problem.

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      2. I glanced at an episode summary for General Hospital about 2 weeks back. It mentioned 7 characters. I knew 1 name (Sonny). The others were strangers. I flipped it on for a few minutes just to see. In the 5 minutes I watched I never saw a single face a recognized. How sad is that?

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    2. “… I miss Felicity. Don’t they have any way to involve her in this story?”

      Ahhh, but she was involved in the story. At least we thought she was at the end of “Three Ghosts” when Slade Wilson was laying out his plans for Oliver and when it got to the part where he says “corrupt those he loves,” the camera panned to Felicity. We don’t want anything bad to ever happen to Felicity, but remember the excitement then among fans? The OMG what does that mean, what does he have planned for her, why corrupt, why such a specific word? I was so excited for the show to return from Christmas break.

      Now the show keeps trying to tell me to worry about a character I don’t like, much less invested in (actually, it would be more accurate to say a character I’ve learned to dislike because of what the writers did to her). When Slade threatened Sara in “The Promise,” I went, “Good, and as a bonus can you take her sister with her?”

      Threats are only effective when viewers care about the people being threatened. I really don’t want Sara killed off, but not because I care about her. It’s more because I don’t want Laurel taking on the Black Canary mantle.

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      1. Kate, it’s interesting that you mentioned the end of “Three Ghosts”. I don’t know if you’ve seen the three minute trailer the show came out with ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OfXGGOfLH30 ) but it has a very similar speech from Slade.

        Only, the camera never pans to Felicity at any part of the speech. In fact, she’s barely a blip in the whole video.

        So here’s my theory: the showrunners saw all the questions and theories we had about Felicity after “Three Ghosts” along with her growing popularity. And, for some very odd reason, they decided to lessen her presence. I personally think it was because they felt that Sara’s popularity would have to compete with Felicity’s once they started the Sara/Oliver relationship. So they pushed Felicity into the background and made Laurel a-okay with the relationship. I’ve noted this before, that the showrunners have pushed back other actresses to give Sara more screentime and less competition.

        Basically, the showrunners are operating on the belief that if we start seeing less of certain characters, we’ll start forgetting that they exist.

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        1. Palak, yes, I’ve seen that clip and was totally pissed off. What the “Arrow” TPTB don’t seem to get is that we won’t automatically fall in love/root for/be interested in a character just because they give her a lot of screen time. That happened with Laurel last year. That’s happening with Sara now. Felicity gets a really short scene at the beginning of the show and her name trends on Twitter worldwide. I’ve seen numerous variations of that scene in gifs on Tumblr, more than any other scene in the episode actually. And I’m not talking about the Olicity tag, I’m talking general Arrow tag.

          Speaking of the Arrow tag, TPTB should be worried about how quiet the response has been to the last couple of episodes. I check out some fan boards, including TWoP, after the show, scroll through Twitter and take a peek at Tumblr to see the reaction. The relative silence after “The Promise” was scary. And like Jenny mentioned in a response somewhere on this thread, that one scene with Felicity was the one that definitely resonated with fans in terms of chatter and gifs.

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          1. I think there’s a tendency to write off internet reactions as “fandom reactions”, as if the internet fans are a minority amongst the viewers. And that may have been true five years ago, but now when people see something they like they take it to the internet. Social media sites like Twitter and Tumblr are really effective in getting a peek at what people are thinking at the moment and, in terms of TV viewership, that’s a really valuable way to see what fans are thinking.

            But you’ll find that people are writing off that kind of commentary as just fandom pushing for what it wants and treating fans like they’re silly, stupid people who can’t recognize a good story. My automatic response to that is to ask who exactly the show is for, if not the viewership? If, as an audience, we’re told to sit tight and let the showrunners tell us what to think, then what purpose do we serve? Ultimately, the audience is a consumer and if the audience doesn’t like the product, they’ll stop buying. That’s ultimately why shows get cancelled and if Arrow continues down this path, it won’t last for long.

            And that’s why I’m quitting Arrow, because I keep feeling as if the showrunners are ignoring their fans’ thoughts and opinions. There’s only so many times they can tell me I’m wrong before I get sick of it. Basic message to the Arrow showrunners: your fans are why you can still create Arrow, ignore them and you’ll lose your show.

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    3. It’s turned into a very talky show, and most of the talk is about emotions, so I think you’re right: the pacing has gone to hell. I love Diggle and Deadshot and I was still bored with the Suicide Squad. And it’s not because it’s comic book stuff, I own the 2011 Suicide Squad comics. One of the things I loved about Arrow was that it kept that comic book sensibility, that constant colorful action, swinging from scene to scene. That’s gone.

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      1. It was so boring I pulled up twitter to see what was up with that missing plane in Malaysia. I looked over for DiggleLicity car scene and meeting the Suicide Squad. Caught the end and couldn’t figure out what happened – that could not have been the big reveal. We knew that. Flop! Harley Quinn sounded truly awesome though. I think Oliver hooking up with her is a good idea. The bad turn in all of this was Oliver suddenly coupling with Sara. Him lonely and fighting the brewing storm was a better storyline.

        The writing in this episode made no sense at all. Wouldn’t Oliver take command of his team? ‘Hey, must protect ourselves and find Slade,’ kinda thing. And then the scene in the car. Felicity’s comment about Slade will kill me if he’s going to kill me or whatevs. Diggle never would have left! Oh but wait, he needs to go see his ex-wife so then the spy lady can snag them for a mission. Ugh. No sense. Instead Oliver had another wimpy nightmare about Shado and is sleeping on a double cot in the Arrow cave? (I had to watch that online. I couldn’t believe the episode was that boring). Really? He’s billionaire and CEO. Can’t he rent an apartment? Maybe sublet The Huntress’ old place? And why aren’t they search for an antidote to Miraku (Miracle) drug? With all his resources, that’s what I’d be doing.

        The Sara relationship took this all off track. Boring. You can kill her off and have us care in other ways – like Sin’s love for her or something. Agree that Deadshot was great. Shrapnel had potential (I guess they killed him?). Loved the Suicide Squad but that story played on to be boring too.

        I was hooked on Revenge into the second season, but felt like somebody big needed to die off, then didn’t. Her vendetta seemed weak to me and I grew tired of Emily Thorne. Not to the point of disliking her, but not caring. And the other characters were not enough of a draw.

        I must say, that I don’t think I would have watched this last episode if I didn’t think you were going to write about it. I have loved reading all here. You made me more interested in Arrow and in learning more about fiction writing, which I may one day venture into from non-fiction.

        Will try out Leverage again, do some binge watching… Person of Interest too.

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        1. I will miss watching something fresh and then talking about it, although that went south with Sherlock, too. The benefit to talking about something I’ve already watched is that I can avoid all the WTF???? posts that bad episodes cause.

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          1. Elementary! I still point to that show, not for the mysteries so much (though the ending of season 1 was really good) but for that Holmes/Watson relationship. I’m so glad it was renewed for a season 3.

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          2. I caught up with that solely on your recommendation. I agree, that’s a relationship show with detective interruptions. I love how they navigate the friendship line in that, the comfort that they find in each other, and now I want to know what the hell Mycroft is up to, so I’m hooked.

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        2. Oddly enough, I’m still watching Revenge even though I only actively like one character (Nolan) and everyone else is generally boring (Jack, Patrick, Margot) or eeeevil. I will say this for the evil characters, though: you get why they are behaving like that. They aren’t just being eeeevil to be evil, you get why Victoria and Emily’s pasts have led them to act in the ways that they do. Maybe that’s why I watch the show even though I can’t really say I like anyone on it.

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  24. Early ratings were in. They were up from The Promise but down from earlier (the good part) in the season. I’d imagine that numerous people stayed or came back just to see Digg & the Suicide Squad. I will be interested in next week’s ratings because based on the previews and the general response to the Lance sisters, I expect the lowest ratings yet. I know I won’t be going out of my way to watch.

    I’m trying to think of another show or book that turned me so fast, and I can’t come up with one. Usually I don’t love it so much or it changes gradually. Justified is an example of gradually changing – and I don’t hate, I just don’t care any more – and the not caring came when the writers messed with the protagonist’s core values. I cannot remember loving something so much as I did Arrow and then hating it so passionately in such a short time. I feel as if I am in mourning.

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  25. i forgot to answer you question too, it happened to me couple of times in past years, examples that cross my mind are Grey’s anatomy and Revenge.

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    1. Revenge is a great example. I was crazy for season one but I never could get into season two and quit after a few episodes.

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  26. The first season of Arrow is a really good mini-series! Same with Downton Abbey and Once Upon a Time that were mentioned in the thread. And some other shows that I’m sure I could think of after some tea. For some reason the steam ran out on the shows.

    Person of Interest is a good contrast, in that it has become better over time. I wish it was available streaming more.

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  27. Madmen. It was fascinating until I realized the main character was going to appear to grow, but then regress right back to his lowest point. Over and over and over. Not interested.

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    1. That caused most people I know who started as Mad Men fans to get turned off. I kind of doggedly stuck with it anyway, and I think the final season is going to be what we’ve been waiting for. Especially because I agree with NY Mag that the main character really is Peggy, and she’s grown and changed like crazy.

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  28. I’m sorry there won’t be more discussions about “Arrow” here. I’ve really enjoyed sharing my thoughts with everyone.

    I’m sticking it out although it’s getting more difficult seeing Ollie and Sara’s “relationship” with each passing episode. I honesty cringed each time they showed any affection. It felt so unnatural to me. It’s like they’re *playing* a romantic couple instead of *being* one. And who thought it was a good idea to turn Laurel into Ollie’s and Sara’s relationship counselor? Have the writers ever heard of the phrase “Too soon?” Out of all the TV shows I’ve watched (I’m over 35) this is one of the worst relationship story lines I have ever seen. I didn’t like Oliver/Laurel last season, but it wasn’t this bad. Hopefully all indications hint to this comic canon “relationship” being temporary. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Oliver and Sara *as friends* and that’s where it should have remained.

    The Felicity/Diggle scene was the only thing worth showing my best friend last night. However, I did enjoy the Suicide Squad, mostly Diggle, Lyla, Deadshot and the voice of Harley Quinn (my comic squee moment of the night). But, once again, the Ollie/Sara stuff took too much screen time instead of focusing on Slade. I would’ve loved to see what Slade is planning next. Instead, we get phantom sightings and a weird home video of Shado projected on a wall. What? I understand Slade using symbolism and psychological warfare, but it had no effect on me. Also where is the Sebastian Blood/Moira Queen mayoral debate? Where are Thea, Sin and Roy, period?

    Obviously, the sudden shift to “The Ollie/Sara Show” was for the comic book loving showrunners and their fans. I hope they’re enjoying every minute because it seems like the show is turning off almost everyone else. If the writers haven’t turned this around after filming Ep. 18-19 (when this “relationship” is assumed to be over), the Ollie/Sara kiss will sadly become the jump the shark moment of this show. I’m hope I’m wrong and things will turn around.

    Lastly, while Oliver is too busy freaking out over Sara, he should be more worried about Felicity. I believe Slade knows she exists. If Isabel is working with Slade, he definitely knows how close she is with Oliver. I think Oliver is in a false sense of security thinking he can hide her away in the Arrow cave, but, like The Clock King, Slade will have a plan to get to her in a way Oliver least expects it. That’s the only reason I can explain why Felicity has been relegated to the background.

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    1. I agree. I think that Felicity is going to be a major player in Oliver-Slade showdown in the finals. At least that’s what i thought but i don’t know anymore and i don’t care. I just hope that 3rd season will somehow manage to annul all these things.

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    2. As a comic fan, I love Black Canary/Green Arrow together. I even liked Sara quite a bit earlier this season. The highlight for me was her willingness to commit suicide to save her family. That worked.

      What didn’t work? Oliver and Sara suddenly getting together. I could ‘ship them and even I was “WTF?? show? Really? What a jerk move on both their parts. It didn’t even have any setup.

      Now we have another Oliver Queen ex coming back to town and I…they screwed up Helena Bertinelli so bad last season by making her a cop killer. She’s an anti-hero who kills for vengeance sometimes but she’s not a cop killer. I should love a Birds of Prey centric episode and instead I’m dreading it.

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      1. Corrina, just want to let you know that I’m not against comic canon when it’s done right. I also like BC/GA in the comics and in “Justice League Unlimited.” However, in the “Arrow” TV universe, it just doesn’t work for me. Simply because there is a woman named Laurel Lance and a vigilante named Black Canary, it doesn’t convince me that either of them automatically are destined to be with Oliver. They have to earn it on the TV screen. The writers have to tell a convincing enough story for me to get behind. I have to see whether the actors have that kind of chemistry I can not only see, but feel. In this case, Oliver doesn’t have that chemistry with either Lance sister.

        When it comes to comic canon I go by what feels right to me. I love pairing Batman with Wonder Woman because of “Justice League,” even though comic canon says he belongs with Catwoman. The only canon I won’t ever mess with is Superman and Lois Lane. That pairing is so strong in so many mediums (movies, TV, comics, etc) and most importantly they have always been right for each other.

        I consider “Arrow” to be in its own universe, like one of those alternate universes DC created during the Infinite Crisis era. It would’ve been a good way for the showrunners to explain why they need to deviate from certain aspects of the comics.

        I agree Helena is really an anti-hero not a villain. I’ve enjoyed Helena’s story in the Arrow-verse until I saw the preview for the next episode. I just can’t see Helena taking hostages. Up until this point, The Huntress only targets people who directly work for and benefit from the Bertinelli family. I think the writers want to heighten the stakes for the “much anticipated” face-off between Huntress and BC… and Laurel (of course).

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        1. Oh, I agree, Ollie has little chemistry with either Lance sister–though I almost got there with Laurel toward the end of last season. The writing was good but the actors have no chemistry. And I love Sara’s fight scenes with Oliver but Sara had far more romantic chemistry with Nyassa Al Ghul than, well, anyone. Oddly, when Sara flirts w/Felicity, it’s somewhat endearing probably because it’s a recognition that, yes, Felicity *is* endearing.

          A few years down the line, after they’ve worked their way to being friends, maybe Sara/Oliver. Maybe. But I think the show’s biggest mistake was casting Katie Cassidy because she wasn’t up to the part, so they decided to bring back Sara from the dead to compensate, but bringing Sara back from the dead (what? ANOTHER resurrection?) was a tough sell.

          And now it’s really messed up their comic canon because neither Laurel nor Sara work right now with Oliver. And I really don’t want Oliver with Felicity. She can do better.

          Anyway, it’s no fun anymore. ::sigh::

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          1. “And I love Sara’s fight scenes with Oliver but Sara had far more romantic chemistry with Nyassa Al Ghul than, well, anyone.” – Corrina

            I agree with this. Sara actually says to Quentin in 2×13 that she loved Nyssa. She never has indicated she ever loved Oliver. Does he love her? He cares a great deal for Sara. Does he trust her enough to let her in completely, emotionally? Will she truly understand Oliver’s journey to become a hero? As much as I love them as a crime fighting team, she’s an ex-assassin, now vigilante, who doesn’t mind killing, something Oliver has refrained from doing these days. This could create a rift between them down the line. Ultimately, (if Sara still lives) I see her as a part-time member of Team Arrow. She periodically comes into town, helps out for a while then disappears.

            What I think doomed Laurel’s character from the start was the complicated backstory. Laurel had to come from a bitter, unyielding place when Oliver resurfaced from the dead. Her backstory needed a good amount of finesse between the writing and the acting. Maybe if another actress who had much better chemistry with Stephen Amell, some of these issues with Laurel’s character wouldn’t have been as glaring.

            And no, Oliver doesn’t deserve Felicity – For now. Their chemistry is so undeniable for me, I’m holding out hope he will get it together in the near future (some time in season 3).

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  29. I’m at exactly this place with it too! It’s weird because I watched the first two episodes originally, then tuned out because it wasn’t intriguing enough. Then I heard so much Olicity I caught up and really came to love and be genuinely excited for new episodes, just around the same time you started posting. And now we’re falling out of love with it on the same schedule too! I’m only sad because I’m not that invested in Blacklist or Leverage (anymore), and I don’t watch POI, so I will miss your thorough critiquing skills!

    The point in this week’s episode that really tipped me over was making Laurel give her cheating sister and ex-boyfriend relationship advice. So gross. (Odd that it was this of all things.) That, plus giving Oliver his one moment of real vulnerability/cracking the stoic facade because he’s worried that Sara is in danger, seemed like the biggest violations of the romance contract yet. They didn’t convince me that Laurel was Ollie’s epic soulmate, but they can’t just try to erase all that and suddenly cast Sara as the one he has deep feelings for. Plus the perpetual sidelining of Felicity in favor of extras from the Comic universe I couldn’t care less about. (OK, I guess there’s lots of reasons.)

    In unrelated news, any thoughts on Veronica Mars The Movie (if you watched/were a VM fan?) I’m so glad it’s back, but the actual movie content was very lackluster because it was all way too easy (lack of high stakes) and rushed for V to slip into her old life.

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    1. I wanted to watch the TV episodes again (they’re streaming free on Prime) before I watched the movie and I just haven’t had the time. I’m definitely planning on getting to it. The stuff I’ve been reading about it has said that it was great fan service, which is good because the fans paid for it, but not great story-telling.

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      1. “The stuff I’ve been reading about it has said that it was great fan service, which is good because the fans paid for it, but not great story-telling.”

        Yes, it was. I did enjoy it for the fanservice, but it was very much about putting the characters in certain places. I’m more excited for what comes *next* — the new book on Tuesday, and whatever movie/TV or web series might possibly follow. (I also think Rob’s storytelling style maybe needs something longer form like a book — or book series — or whole season of TV to tell the stories he wants to tell. It didn’t really work well crammed into a movie.)

        Would love to read posts from you on your VM rewatch if you feel up to dissecting that story. I think the first season is one of the best examples ever of how writers can balance weekly mystery plots and overarcing characterization and plot.

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        1. I loved the first season. The second season, not so much. But that first season was so good, I almost don’t want to watch it again for fear it won’t hold up. And then I heard the third season wasn’t good.

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          1. I think the first season will hold up for you okay! I rewatched a year or two ago, and it was pretty well done. They really built the Lilly murder plot well from the Christmas episode through the end of season. S2 and S3 are a lot of mess. It was a downward spiral for sure.

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          2. Season three wasn’t great. It had some good stuff in terms of single-episode plots, we got to see more of Mac, Logan was less unstable…But the ending was hard to take, and the long-running mysteries were far weaker than in the first two years.

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          3. Third season had budget cuts (so most of the main characters couldn’t be in the show at the same time) and executive meddling (“no more season-long cases, please”). And Piz, the boyfriend least equipped for dating Veronica ever. And Rob Thomas insisting on ending it on a downer cliffhanger. But other than that, I still thought season 3 was pretty good despite those things.

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        2. I would concur that this was more of a prequel to a re-continued series than a one-shot movie. But then again, I didn’t WANT a one-shot movie, I wanted Veronica back solving crimes. So fine by me 😉

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      2. I loved the VM movie because that, for me, is a show with GREAT characters, and I thought all the actors came back swinging and gave me exactly what I paid for (I’m a backer who bought a movie ticket…and rented it for 24 hours since my free download code didn’t work…and didn’t complain about it because I want a sequel. I’m a huge marshmallow). Veronica, Keith, Dick, Piz, Wallace, Weevil, Mac, Logan, Leo, even Madison Sinclair–they were all exactly who they were supposed to be. And I know I mentioned before that James Franco is never unnecessary, but he WAS unnecessary–just because I’d rather watch characters from the VM world than him. That’s how much I love them.

        In contrast, what Arrow is doing IS character assassination. I thought the same thing when I watched Laurel last night: who are you? I don’t want to bash acting but I was cringing when Caity Lotz was delivering her lines. Clearly, without any action scenes, I’m not a fan of her on this show. Also, anyone else disappointed when Felicity sent Oliver out and it cuts to the bad guys already on the ground? I’d rather watch him take down a purse snatcher than “open up” to Sara.

        I still thought Emily Bett was incredibly charming, and I wanted to love Lyla and Diggle, but I thought the whole conversation about things being gray (how many conversations was it?) was just…inorganic. Diggle and Deadshot have so much potential. There could be great story there.

        So, I’m gonna catch up at the end of the season when I can fast forward through scenes. In the meantime, there is fan fiction…and I know it’s bad when I start to enjoy the things the fans write more than the actual show (most fan fiction takes the characters is completely different directions, but there are a handful that arc character and plot beautifully, and it’s always fun when I stumble upon one of those stories).

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  30. I’m still watching at least until the end of the season, because I love Felicity and Diggle too much to not check in with how they’re doing each week. But I’m just gonna be gritting my teeth and wishing for it to be over whenever Oliver or the Lance sisters are on screen.

    But thank you, Jenny, for providing these discussions. I learned a whole lot about storytelling in these posts and comments. And I’ve spent last week catching up with Person of Interest based on the praises it got here, and now I have a brand new show to have fun with! 🙂

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  31. I am new to the Arrow fanbase. I only recently began watching Arrow, having caught up two months ago and have been watching the last four episodes live since then. I’ll be honest, since I have switched to live, I been disappointed, though it took awhile to admit. Maybe the appeal of binge watching is that if an element of an episode is missing, well then am hour later I’m watching the next and I’m satisfied again.

    This is especially true when it comes to Felicity. I love her character. I love her interactions, most of all with Oliver but honestly, I’m just satisfied when she’s on the screen. Arrow is a great show but at times, it threatens to take itself too seriously and that can be suffocating. Felicity is key to balancing out the tone. With her around suddenly, Oliver’s stoicism isn’t so dark, it can be funny. The office screens aren’t tedious, they are filled with amusement. The Arrowcave isn’t just a place to brood, but to built trust.

    Felicity honestly sprinkles magic in every scene she’s in and I don’t quite understand why the writers don’t fully embrace the joy she delivers. If I were poor Katie Cassidy, I would be begging the writers to have Felicity and Laurel befriend one another. Laurel has flounders somewhere between “annoying” and “intolerable” but make her crack jokes with Felicity, and her stock would skyrocket. I’m sure of it.

    Instead of embracing Felicity wholeheartedly and sprinkling her magic everywhere, the writers almost seem terrified of her and determined to withhold her from us. Maybe its because she was never expected to be so important in the first place. I won’t get into Episode 14. I thought Felicity was treated like a child rather than the precious gem she is, but in every recent episode since I started watching live…I’ve missed her, a lot. Sadly, I can’t just binge watch 2 more episodes until she’s relevant again.

    Without Felicity these last few weeks, the show seems much darker and more gloomy. Slade is back, so I’m guessing this in the tone the writers want, but we as viewers need humor to balance it out. Otherwise, its tough to take.

    Worse, rather than making other characters more likable by having them interact with Felicity, the writers are taking the opposite approach. They withhold her and give other characters more screen time. Sara is suffering most from this approach. Who didn’t like Sara at first? Beautiful, badass, dry sense of humor. But now everytime I see a flash of blond hair and once again it’s not Felicity, I find myself whining at the tv. I actually said “go away, Sara” this week outloud during a scene. Her relationship with Oliver isn’t intolerable. A lot of people say they have 0 chemistry, but I disagree. However, its hard to endure because more Sara-Oliver means less screen time for Felicity, period. I can’t forgive Sara for that.

    Oh, I hope the writers learn to appreciate her. I hope they realize she’s worthy of her own storylines and that she what pushes the show from good to excellent. Honestly, until they do, the show is just going to turn off more and more viewers.

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    1. I agree with you about Felicity. She’s a good character, but Emily Bett Rickards is just adorable. She is one of those actors who raises the level of acting every time she is in a scene. To use her less is stupid on the part of the writers. I agree with you that Sara & Oliver could be a better than tolerable couple even with Caity Lotz’s limited range. In my opinion, the big problem with them as a couple was the complete lack of set up followed by absolutely no follow up as to why they are in a relationship. I know EBR is back for season three and is not going to Flash (because EBR said so in Chicago last weekend), so I hope the writers keep their promises to explore her story, but at this point, I don’t believe much they say.

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      1. I think you are absolutely right. Emily Bett Rickards just breaths life into Felicity. In my humble opinion, she has the best range by far of any of Oliver’s “love interests” (which let’s face it, is anyone except Moira and Thea). I perk up completely everytime she’s on screen.

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    2. I’ve been wondering why they didn’t just “go there” with Oliver and Felicity before Slade returned. Have them have a moment and get closer. Having Oliver push her away because of the danger Slade presented would have made much more sense and, I think, had more of an emotional impact on viewers since we’d been watching relationship grow and that glimmer of sexual tension was already there. I really think the writers fear putting Oliver and Felicity together because once they’re together I think the writers feel everybody will lose interest and then you have to break them up. After that, how do you keep them working together in a believable way? Do you? Or do you kill her off? So I think they’re trying to keep the awareness there, tease it, dance around it yet keep it apart so they can keep the team together because a lot of people like that trio. So it’s like they know they have a good thing but fear doing anything with it because then it’ll ruin that good thing. LOL. Talk about a quandary.

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      1. Honestly, I have no idea what the people running this show think. They’ve done so many inexplicable things, coupled with the weirdness they put out in social media, that I have no idea how they process story.

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      2. Yeah, I sort of get the dilemma the writers are in with Oliver and Felicity because I feel like if they ever go there with them, it HAS to be for keeps. Their relationship is so pure and it’s built on trust, loyalty, understanding, total and complete acceptance… all those qualities that are needed to create a lasting relationship.. that nothing short of death would be a believable way to end them without seriously damaging either character. And if they’re not the intended endgame couple here, then that poses a problem for the writers because Oliver, Felicity, and Diggle are arguably the three most important characters on the show and the Team Arrow relationship is the most important one on the show, so at the end of the day they need to maintain that bond.

        BTW.. doesn’t this danger drama just scream Liason to you? I swear, I have the worst luck with ‘ships.

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        1. I think you vastly overestimate the writers’ understanding of their audience. I have seen no evidence that they understand either the Oliver/Felicity relationship, which at the moment seems to be non-existent, or the importance of the central three because they are doing nothing to advance or even maintain either.

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          1. Oh no, I’m well aware that they know crap LOL

            Marc Guggenheim already said that one of the things he loved about Oliver and Felicity’s relationship was that it’s so “messy” and I was just like “WTF?!”” They’re the least messy relationship on the show.

            But I think they do know, or at least are starting to realize, that they need the core Team Arrow relationship as the foundation of the show. Like I said, I’m giving them until the end of the season. If I’m wrong, I’ll just move on. I’ve done it a hundred times before, but maybe the optimist in me is still hoping that someone at Arrow gets it.

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          1. Ha! I’m right there with you. I quit GH on December 12, 2008, after their courthouse scenes and never looked back.

            Well, I did sporadically.. but never for more than a few scenes here and there LOL

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      3. I agree with you completely. I do think they writers, as you were saying, were trying to keep the awareness there and slowly dance around it. I actually love that dynamic which is why the first half of the season was just so amazing. I want Oliver and Felicity to keeping dance around each other for a long time until the tension finally explodes.

        What I don’t want (and I apologize for not dropping the metaphor) is for Oliver to suddenly quit in the middle of their dance and have Felicity shoved off to the side. I can handle if they have other romantic dalliances, so long as they still stay linked, connected.

        These last few episodes, Oliver has barely acknowledged Felicity much less kept up the tension. It’s slowly killing me.

        Dance, boy! Writers! Make him dance! Don’t you realize its one of the best parts of the show?

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        1. “What I don’t want (and I apologize for not dropping the metaphor) is for Oliver to suddenly quit in the middle of their dance and have Felicity shoved off to the side. I can handle if they have other romantic dalliances, so long as they still stay linked, connected.” – Emily

          Apparently, the writers are under the impression that Oliver is incapable of caring about more than one woman at a time, and that’s a big part of what has turned me off him lately.

          Ever since Sara came back, all his interactions with the women in his life have involved him yelling at them (Laurel) or barking orders at them (Felicity) or acting hypocritical with them (Moira). Maybe if one of those women betrayed their sister by running off with their boyfriend, he’d treat them better.

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  32. So.. did Oliver even know and/or care that his partner was forced out of the country on a dangerous mission last night with his mortal enemy? Unless I missed it, which is entirely possible since I muted all of Oliver’s scenes unless he was talking to Felicity or the Bratva guys, did he mention Diggle’s absence at all?

    Just 10 episodes ago, he willingly dropped everything and flew to Russia with Diggle to help him find Lyla, and now it’s gotten to the point where I seriously have to wonder if he even noticed Digg was missing since he can’t seem to see past Sara.

    Oh show. How the mighty have fallen.. or got deliberately pushed down to shoehorn in a redundant character. Whatever.

    You know things are bad when I found myself more interested in Deadshot and his blossoming bromance with Johnny than anything having to do with Oliver. Why is it that the writers are managing to make the villains more sympathetic than the show’s protagonist? Because lately I find myself rooting for them more than him. The Clock King, Slade, and Deadshot all made me sympathize with their plight, and I just want to push Oliver into oncoming traffic. Weird.

    I’m giving the show until the end of the season before I decide whether I’m going to drop it though. From what David Ramsey said in an interview yesterday, the writers are making a point to go back to focusing on the core three of Team Arrow, so I still have a little hope left that they can avoid turning this show into a complete trainwreck. If things stay the same, I won’t be subjecting myself to his mess next season though. I can do self-preservation like nobody’s business.

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    1. “From what David Ramsey said in an interview yesterday, the writers are making a point to go back to focusing on the core three of Team Arrow…”

      Hope they put that on the screen and not just words in an article. Cause so far their track record ain’t too hot. LOL. But no, in all seriousness, if they did that? I’d be much much more excited about the show. Go back to what works, Arrow showrunners, and get back there fast.

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      1. I’m loathe to believe anything that comes out of the showrunners’ mouths, but since David has actually filmed the scenes, I’m more willing to take his word for it. He seems to just tell it like it is. And his take on Oliver and Felicity is spot on. The man just gets it LOL

        I’m kinda curious about his “you have to do this because Felicity is being held ransom” when talking about Diggle being pushed to do something. Where did that come from? Felicity has never been held ransom on the show… unless he let something slip without realizing it. Hmmm…

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          1. “I think that Diggle, often he’s pushed far by some external force: “you have to do this because Felicity is being held ransom” or “you have to do this because your wife might die” like in the Russian episode, when he had to go there because Lyla was held captive. Those are external things going on.”

            He could have just been throwing out situations in which he WOULD be forced to do something, but it just struck me as weird since she’s never really been in that type of situation while the part about Lyla being in trouble did happen.

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  33. Thanks Jenny for the past few weeks of deconstruction. I enjoyed the weekly comment forum. I am probably in the minority. I will stick with Arrow for the rest of the season. Partly because I love Felicity and Digg so much and partly because I still hold out a sliver of hope for Oliver’s redemption. I am no longer optimistic but I’ve invested way too many fangirl hours to completely give up at this point.

    I think back to the times this season where I would watch Arrow live and then re-watch my favourite scenes on the PVR after the episode was over. It’s hard to believe that I’ve reached the point now where I’m just glad the episode is over.

    No longer a fangirl, but still watching (and hoping) for now.

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    1. When we were doing PopD, Lani used to say that she knew a movie was failing when she checked the clock to see how much longer she had to watch.

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      1. “she knew a movie was failing when she checked the clock to see how much longer she had to watch.”
        – Jenny

        That was my test with Arrow. I never glanced at the clock during most of the episodes. The only time I did in the beginning were Laurel scenes. Lately? I glance at the clock a lot.

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  34. I just remembered the book series that did this to me….Laurel Hamilton’s Anita Blake. I was a huge fan until they went from adventure to erotica. Nothing against erotica, but when Hamilton made the books all about sex, I was done. Anita was so strong and so interesting until the books became nothing but sex.

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    1. Ditto on the Anita Blake series. I really enjoyed the grit of her character but stopped somewhere in the middle of the series for the same reason. No interest in going back. Did not like the way Anita was being written at all!

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      1. Thirded. Even I got bored of all of the paranormal porn. I had been rooting for a Jean-Claude/Asher/Anita threesome and when it happened…in a fivesome…meh. Also, she slept with Jason and she’d said she’d never do that. Ditto Nathaniel, who has all kinds of mental problems. Lost respect there.

        Oh, and Micah: just ugh. Ugh, ugh, ugh.

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  35. FYI –

    Arrow Season 2 Ratings
    01) 2.74 / 0.9

    02) 3.06 / 1.1

    03) 2.89 / 0.9

    04) 2.37 / 0.8

    05) 2.80 / 1.0

    06) 3.09 / 1.2

    07) 2.66 / 1.0

    08) 3.24 / 1.2

    09) 3.02 / 1.1

    10) 2.52 / 0.9

    11) 2.49 / 0.9

    12) 2.95 / 1.1

    13) 2.86 / 1.0

    14) 2.45 / 0.9

    15) 2.21 / 0.7

    16) 2.36 / .08 ****NOT FINAL****

    17)

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    1. Paula, interesting ratings stuff. Just to frame that in time a bit more for people:

      09) 3 Ghosts aired on December 11, 2013 — 3.02 / 1.1
      — Break —
      10) Blast Radius aired on January 15, 2014 — 2.52 / 0.9
      11) Blind Spot aired on January 22, 2014 — 2.49 / 0.9
      12) Tremors aired on January 29, 2014 — 2.95 / 1.1
      13) Heir to the Demon aired on Feb 5, 2014 (with the lunge at the end) — 2.86 / 1.0
      –Break —
      14) Time of Death aired on Feb 26 2.45 / 0.9
      15) The Promise aired on March 5, 2014 — 2.21 / 0.7
      — Break —
      16) Suicide Square aired on March 19, 2014 — 2.36 / .08 ****NOT FINAL****

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      1. The final rating was 0.8/2.42 million.

        Even though it went up from The Promise, it’s still lower than Time of Death.

        So, if Slade finally confronting Oliver in his home and laying out his threat to his face didn’t get the viewers rushing to their TV screens, then that doesn’t bode well for the remainder of the season where the Slade/Oliver rivalry is the main story focus.

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        1. It will be really interesting to see Birds of Prey’s numbers. I’m betting it’s lower than The Promise. I have no idea where they are going – wasn’t Laurel filling out a job application last night or talking about looking for a job last night? How is she back to prosecuting? Did I miss something?

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          1. I think it might get a decent rating because of The Huntress. Viewers know her and her brand of crazy, so they might tune in to see what she’s up to this time.

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  36. To answer your question, Jenny, Smallville lost me about halfway through it’s run. It would have been sooner but I was easily impressionable back then. It’s actually the reason I started watching Arrow: I remembered how much I used to enjoy Smallville and I was hoping the Powers That Be could get it right this time.

    But the reason I liked Smallville – when I usually dislike Superman in general – was because it told me the story of Clark Kent. Watching a small town boy turn into an iconic superhero and actually become a good man was fascinating. But then the show got bogged down and, to be honest, ran for too long. They kept extending Clark’s “journey” at the expense of his characterization. I could have bought that it took all those years for Clark to be forged into a hero, if he wasn’t still learning lessons three seasons from when he’d first supposedly learned them.

    With Arrow, we’re seeing Oliver’s regression. The midseason finale showed an Oliver that had made the decision to try to be a hero instead of a vigilante. But now, with Slade, he’s regressed to season 1’s follow-the-list days.

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  37. X Men 3 doesn’t exist for me. I don’t give a bleep about The Canon blah, blah. 3 doesn’t work for me at all, I gave away the dvd.

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  38. I was looking at Tumblr, and it’s absolutely awash with hilarious gifs and photo sets all on the same theme – Go away, Sara, and no to Ollie and Sara! Plus a lot of posts showing love for Felicity and Diggle. Very little about the story of the episode or the Suicide Squad, and only one post pro Oliver, and that was because he was shirtless!

    So, what to say to writers who manage to turn people off the titular hero of their show, especially so quickly? I think any narrative needs a character at the heart of it that we can root for in some way, even if they aren’t a clear cut ‘good’ guy type. Even as morally repellent as Frank Underwood is in ‘House of Cards’, there is still something about him that means we want to watch him succeed, up to a point, in his Machiavellian schemes. Now, I think I’d enjoy seeing Slade defeat Oliver. If there’s a battle between the Superannoying Heroic twosome, and Slade and Isabel, I’ll be wearing an eyepatch, not a mask, to show my allegiance!

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    1. I went and looked (because I’m weak) and what I saw mostly was OMFG HARLEY QUINN. So evidently I am not the only Harley fan.

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      1. Harley’s current comic, written by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti is brilliant and funny and dark and awesome. I highly recommend picking up the first four issues. I think Harley’s popularity caught DC by surprise because this book is now a top ten. (You can get issues digitally through Comixology.)

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        1. Are you kidding? I’m a HUGE Amanda Conner fan, and her new Harley stuff is my fave. Did you see her rescue that abused dachshund?
          If I ever do a graphic novel, I am going to plead for Amanda Conner to do it. She’s just amazing.

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          1. Oh, that was awesome, rescuing the dachshund. That’s when you know the writers have hit the right note with an anti-hero. Did you get the issue where she rescues all the dogs at the pound? She had a, um, creative way of feeding them…

            Amanda isn’t doing the art on Harley but she and Jimmy are obviously knocking it out of the part. Jenny already knows this probably, but I’d also urge everyone to run out and buy Watchmen: Silk Spectre by Amanda and Darwyn Cooke. Amanda did the art on this one and it’s just…absolutely amazing. A very adult story, brilliant writing and it’s set in the Summer of Love in San Francisco. Amanda Conner’s art has never, ever looked better.

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  39. “Have you ever fallen out of love with a show or a novel you were invested in? What happened? Or to put it another way, how do writers piss off readers/viewers so much they never come back?”

    Frequently, alas.

    In books, Diana Gabaldon’s OUTLANDER series immediately comes to mind. Loved the first 2 books. Lost me on book 3. I also loved her Lord John series… but she lost me there on book 4. In both cases. I got to a book in the series where I thought the story, plot, pace, characterization–in short, almost everything–fell apart. When I realize I’m reading characters I used to care about but now I just find them tiresome and tedious, and my reaction to the story has become “why do I care?… oh, actually I DON’T” I quit reading. If I really enjoyed the series, sometimes I’ll try a later book. And if that one doesn’t hook me back in, I give up on the series altogether. This happened with Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series. I really enjoyed books 1-5. Thought 6 was enjoyable but a little stale. Thought 7 was so disappointing that I skipped 8 and 9. Tried #10 a couple of years later and quit after a few chapters. Have never tried Evanovich since, and doubt I ever will.

    I will come back, though not immediately, if a writer disappoints me once. I don’t think it’s unusual NOT to love every single book a writer produces. But if I’m disappointed twice in a row, I’m done with that series (or that author).

    In TV series, one that immediately comes to mind is LA FEMME NIKITA in the 1990s. I was a huge fan of the first 2 seasons. A must-not-miss! show for me. But I thought the 3rd season was disappointing and silly, but kept watching. Then season 4 and 5 (which was only a few episodes) were so putrid, I started skipping episodes, only sticking with it enough to see if it recovered any quality (it didn’t) and how it ended (idiotically). The disappointments began with huge (HUGE) continuity gaffs, characterization falling apart, and plot turning to overheated silly putty.

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    1. Thank you, Laura! The same thing happened to me with the Outlander books and I’ve felt as though I was the only one. Most people I know just love, love, love them in perpetuity, or else could never get into them in the first place. Always so validating to find someone else who saw what I saw.

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      1. The book that broke me of Outlander was the one where Claire finally actually got raped, and Roger’s voice got ruined, and Jamie had a really pointless near-death scene and not only did I hate those plot developments, I just felt like the author had finally run out of things she wanted to do with the series. Sigh. As far as I’m concerned, they stop after book 4 now.

        As for Evanovich….she writes a static universe and it gets boring.

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  40. Haven was one I loved, but when they started killing off the complicated secondary characters, I didn’t like that much. Then they killed off one member of one of the earlier happy couples, and that means it’s hard to rewatch earlier episodes. Then Audrey knew she could save the world by killing Nathan and he told her too, but she wouldn’t, so five other people died. That seemed to take her from the hero status to selfish hero. I think the body count got to me.

    I also read a couple of mystery/ romance series where a main love interest is killed off in a following book. Then I am more hesitant to read anything by that author.

    But I will keep reading an author I love even after a few duds in the often vain hope that this one will rekindle my love. But I will check them out from the Library. Although after five or so I may give up totally.

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  41. Also, why is a recovering alcoholic spending so much time in a bar? (I’m going to assume the drink Sara handed her was non-alcoholic, right?)

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  42. YES – Oh, yes – I’ve broken up with the Divergent Series… kind of.. I mean it’s an on-again-off-again thing. Basically, the first book was outstanding. Blew me away – I loved the main character. She was smart, caring, strong, brave and rational. And the male lead – Four – wowza. So serious and moody, but complex. But then there was the second book….. and the third book….. and Tris changed SO much – she wasn’t the same character anymore. I didn’t admire her anymore; I wanted to double punch her in the throat. And then the plot – oh the plot – there was so much going on all the time. One crisis after another and no one grew after the crisis was resolved. The antagonist became muddied – who really was the bad guy? The emotions seemed so forced and fake. I couldn’t relate to this character anymore and what was driving me to continue reading was 1) find out what happens; and 2) as long as she ends up happy with Four at the end… And I could have forgiven all of this and continued to love the series – but for the ending, oh the ending…

    As a writer, I understand what she did. Why she chose to end the series that way. I see the symbolism, I see the connections throughout the series and see the arc, and why she did it. I get it. BUT she broke my trust as a reader. I’ll never forgive her for that and will more than likely never read another one of her books – you break my trust, I’m sorry. It’s not a matter of giving the reader what the reader wants all the time – I get you have to follow the story through to the ending that the story deserves. BUT the way she crafted that ending… she broke my trust.

    (Not to mention, I feel like she broke a cardinal rule – if your original story is not about what’s outside the fence, don’t take us there. She could have easily split book two into two books, never written book three, and ended on a somewhat hopeful/mysterious note as they leave the city to the outside world… That would have been SO much better.)

    So now – I’ll read the first book of the series again and just pretend that the second and third books don’t exist.

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  43. There are two TV series that are -for me- perfect examples of great stories that I couldn’t wait for the next episode and then there was a moment in which I fell out of love with.
    Years ago, I loved ‘Northern Exposure’ but the last season was… as if the writers had disappeared. I’ve always thought they changed the writers. The characters were not themselves any more. The stories were boring. There was nothing original anymore.
    More recently, ‘Homeland’. The first season was amazing. The second was OK, but the third one? Again: characters that are not themselves any more, and plot with more holes than a Swiss cheese.
    Grey’s Anatomy? Well, I think it was ‘the curse of the child’. When they introduce children in a plot that was adults-only until that moment, you know the show is over.

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    1. I felt the same way with Northern Exposure. Started out wonderful and then . . .
      I think the idea of saying, “This series has a four year arc” (or whatever) and ending it when it’s over is important. I love Leverage, but it had a four year arc. The UK Life on Mars went for sixteen episodes and ended with a finale that usually ends up as #1 on the “best series finales of all time” charts just perfectly done.

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      1. I couldn’t agree more! t don’t know many shows that have gone past 4 years and managed to stay good all throughout…so I’m actually convinced most shows only have a 4-5 year arc. Unless it’s a procedural like CSI or Law and Order, but those shows are case of the week. Dexter, for example, was excellent early on and then just crashed and burned (I stopped watching after the fourth season, which, to me, IS the series finale because it SHOULD have ended there). I think a show’s quality (even procedurals) is often compromised when it keeps going.

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  44. This has happened many times for me. My tv-watching time is strictly limited and there are too many good books in the world.

    I really enjoyed the first season of Andromeda–they were doing some really interesting stuff with culture and religion. And then, from what I’ve read, Kevin Sorbo pitched a hissy and fired the writers and essentially re-booted the show into something predictable and dim.

    I quite enjoyed the first season of Angel, although I never liked who the character was on that show–he got a lot goofier and Boreanaz never had the chemistry with any of that cast that he did on Buffy. It went downhill for me with the second season, but I think we stuck it out through the fourth before just falling behind and never catching up.

    Lost is probably the most dramatic example. I loved the first season and then halfway through the first episode of the second season the dialogue got so clunky I turned off the tv and never turned it back on.

    With books, let’s see…as mentioned above, I gave up on the Outlander series after the third one. I gave up on Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta books two or three back, although I’m somewhat tempted to try again now that she’s reportedly worked out her financial/legal issues and gotten a handle on her mental health issues.

    In none of these cases has it been boredom. CSI and House were both victims of that. I think it’s always the failure of the characters to make me care and the failure of the writing to keep surprising me. And it’s much sadder when they have it, but lose it, than when they never get it in the first place.

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  45. Walking Dead. I loved the first season, except for the finale. I didn’t like the direction Rick took, & based on the graphic novel my husband was reading, I didn’t want to take the emotional journey it was gong to take. I wanted to know different stuff about that world.

    Jericho. Again, great first season. I loved it when they stayed in Jericho and focused on the community dealing with the unknown. But I didn’t like it when they started bringing in shades of real politics (like the mercenary defense contractor companies akin to those working Iraq at the time). I didn’t like the suggestion of where things were going to go when people from Jericho started interacting with the outside world. The show went in directions that didn’t interest me, and didn’t answer the questions I was interested in.

    Anita Blake series: I bailed before Hamilton went full bore erotica. I bailed in the middle of the book where Anita got so wigged out about sex with her werewolf boyfriend that she promptly turned to the vampire & started a relationship with him. I felt this was a huge character violation … Anita was presented as completely & unutterably unshakeably “vampires are evil monsters”. She was presented as utterly badass and had dealt with things far more freaky than sex with a human transitioning to werewolf. There was no set up in the story lines signalling a change in Anita’s attitudes. The shift was so unexpected, so abrupt, that it felt like a betrayal. I probably would have handled it better if Hamilton had done some set up, had done something to make it reasonable for me to accept Anita’s freak out and her subsequent relationship with the vampire, and I probably would have stayed with the series longer.

    Stephanie Plum series: I adored the community. I adored the supporting cast. I’m not a fan of love triangles, and I got sick and tired of Stephanie waffling between the two men. I wanted her to pull up her big girl panties and decide between Ranger & Joe (or jettison both of them) and move on. Beyond that? Stephanie was smart, and she was ballsy. She should have had a learning curve. And yet, she kept making the same stupid mistakes over and over and OVER. There comes a point at which the blown up car gets old, and there comes a point at which she just should have been fired if she couldn’t learn the basics of her job. If Lulu had a learning curve, Stephanie should have, too. Ultimately, it felt as if Evanovich couldn’t come up with a plot without relying on Stephanie being incompetent. And I really, really miss that community, because it was AWESOME.

    Sookie Stackhouse: This was a much more gradual thing for me. For some reason, Sookie just started to feel more and more like Anita Blake, and since I was over Anita Blake, Sookie became a turn off. Part of why I never really had any interest in True Blood, I suspect. I really like Charlaine Harris’ Harper Connelly series, and would love to see more of that, but I’m in the minority, apparently, and Charlaine made a lot more money from Sookie than from Harper.

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    1. I forgot the Stephanie Plum books. I feel the same way. The first few were fun, but I gave up around 19. (I’m a slow learner.) I also agree with you about the Anita Blkae books. I thought the affair with Jean Claude was out of character, but I loved him enough to over look it. I’m still with Outlander, but I did struggle with The Fiery Cross. I almost didn’t make it to the next one.

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    2. Shawn R, I’m completely with you on Charlaine Harris – I, too, fizzled out with Sookie (and True Blood, not that it was all that true to the books) and was sad when the Harper Connelly series ended. But I’ve told myself that I’d prefer that if the well ran dry for Charlaine on the Harper series that it end as it did (it really was a terrific stopping point) vs going on until she wore out her welcome like happened for me with Sookie.

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  46. What got me a lot this week was the action. Where was it? The trailers had shown me an episode of badass Diggle with a bunch of former criminals who surprisingly are working for the ‘good’ guys. But I didn’t see that today. One thing about Arrow that I thought would never change is the action. This is an action series but this episode just showed Sara talking with Oliver, Laurel e.t.c. And when we finally meet the suicide squad, the only thing they did was talk. The flashback did nothing for me, Deadshot shooting Diggle didn’t do it for me either. Neither did the helicopter scene.
    Also, why in God’s name did that other suicide guy, whathisname Shrapnel? Why did he run away. Deadshot talked about the bombs in their bodies as if they knew about it. If he knew, why did he run away. I know I wouldn’t if there was a bomb in my body with the trigger in someone else’s hand.
    Finally, I didn’t buy that i’ve got a life comment from Felicity. Maybe it’s a minor thing to comment on but I didn’t think it was necessary. It’s pretty obvious that she gives everything to the arrow cave and Oliver.
    Sorry for the previous comments, I’m typing on my phone and hit the submit button when I was trying to type.

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    1. compass96, Felicity was saying she had a life BEFORE Diggle and Oliver. I agree with you, though. Definitely no life outside of QC or the Arrow cave now. I thought that line was a bit off, too. Actually, something about that whole scene — which I really loved because it was Felicity and Diggle — felt a bit off. Like it was quickly included to boost Felicity’s presence in an episode where we didn’t see much of her. Not much of a boost, the scene took all of what, 2 minutes, less than that? But I think it was a quick and easy way for the show to respond to fan complaints Felicity was getting sidelined.

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    2. I totally agree compass96. I was also wondering where the action was this episode. And I too found the “I used to have a life” comment by Felicity a bit strange. Perhaps this was an attempt by the writers to pave the way for more of Felicity’s backstory to come later? Who knows.

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  47. I don’t buy that Shrapnel is dead. Yeah, they put a bomb in his body. But who knows bombs? Shrapnel.

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      1. I’m betting he’s not dead. He’s the bomb specialist right? And they took the chip out of Deadshot, so he could probably get his own chip out. I think the only people who’ve died on Arrow and stayed dead are Tommy and Shado. The rest come back: Sara, Merlyn, Slade . . . why would Shrapnel the bomb expert not make it?

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  48. British shows have been different than their American counterparts – if you have enough story for 3 episodes, or 6 or 10, then that’s your series (season). You might come back 2 or 3 years later with another season. Or not. I admire that even though as a viewer it frustrates me because I want more.

    I found this blog because of TWOP’s Arrow forum, so I’ll probably be a little sad if there aren’t any more Arrow discussions. Still, there’s always POI and hopefully Leverage in a month or so. As for the show, it’s kind of morbid but I need to see what they do with Sara and Laurel. No doubt I’ll be throwing things at the tv but I need to see how they resolve the BC thing. It’s kind of funny – the original BoP series was one that lost me halfway through and Batman is the only comic book universe I have ever been interested in until now. More recently, Lost, Heroes, Desperate Housewives – all started out great and lost me after the second season. With Arrow, the retcons of S1 have been a big annoyance. (Have retcons ever been a positive thing for a show?) For me, they are usually big red flags that there are problems with the story.

    With novels, my favorite authors usually give up on my favorite series before I do. Lois McMaster Bujold is one and Margaret Maron, Linda Barnes and Sharyn McCrumb are others that come to mind. (The mid eighties – nineties seem to be the glory days for Sisters in Crime.) You can’t blame them for wanting to move on if they no longer want to write for a particular character or universe but it’s frustrating.

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  49. I have to admit I almost turned POI off this week, and might give it a miss although I am/was a huge fan. Root – the crazy soft spoken one who now has the machine speaking in her ear, had become the main character (can you tell she’s my least favourite character?) and now there is a big super plot brewing (rather than each week we get a number, a device I prefer on this show) of machine versus machine to end the world. Or something. Not sure what and not sure I care. It has ceased to be about the people.
    I would agree that Mentalist has refound their mojo though.

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    1. I don’t think Root has become the main character. I think the episode this week was centered on her, just as the Blacklist episode list week centered on Ressler, but everything that happened still had a huge impact on the protagonists in both series. And the stuff that happened to Root was crucial: she had an implant put in her head so she’s linked directly to the machine which means Root is now a cyborg, and the machine send her to get the number in part because it wanted her to feel guilt, to be appalled by what she’d done in the past. Both of those things are going to be crucial in future to Finch and the Machine Gang. Plus we found out she has her own gang of helper monkeys. That puts her into play with the Machine Gang and with Decima and with Control. They’ve done the same with the other supporting players whenever there was a story that changed them dramatically, turning points for their characters.
      But then I love Root. I know she’s a homicidal looney tune, but she’s fascinating, even more so now that the Machine is making her feel remorse. Plus I love her and Shaw together.

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      1. Root, Shaw and that power bar made smile for a long time. I love their dynamic. Jenny, Amy Acker did a live tweet during the episode and she came prepared. She posted some behind the scenes production shots, amusing anecdotes, etc. It was almost like a DVD commentary with visuals. Apparently, that episode was shot during the time of the polar vortex.

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  50. First of all, this blog post made me insanely happy, because I completely agree. I started watching this show during the hiatus, wanting to watch something seemingly mindless. Breaking Bad had ended. Homeland became dead to me. I wanted to get out of my head. Slowly, I became surprised at how good Arrow was! Then, I was so pumped to find your blog. Breaking down story gives me such a writer’s boner; I can’t even stand it.

    But then, you’re right. Arrow started getting mindless in exactly the way you described in comments– I was bored. I didn’t care. And as a script reader by trade, my most prevalent comment ever is, “MAKE ME CARE.” This show made me care and then made me not care at all. Quite the feat.

    So I’m happy about this blog post, because I agree. But I’m unhappy, because I’ve loved your breakdowns and opinions on Arrow. Thank you. I wish you wrote for the show.

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  51. Personally I feel like the decrease in quality if Marc’s fault. The show had 3 producers for its run, one deeply and absolutely obsessed with comic canon (Marc), one who wanted comic canon on the show but also wanted to give the non comic fans a show they could watch (AJ Kreisberg), and one with more experience who knew that once you had a winning hand you needed to let go of the losing one and let the story tell itself (Greg Berlanti). AJ understood Greg’s ideas and views for how a tv show should work (compromise between original storytelling and the audience’s wishes), but Marc seemed to just be incredibly stubborn.

    What happened? AJ and Greg started focusing on Flash (even still being a part of Arrow) and left Marc to run the show mostly on his own. Result? A show filled with comic that a lot of fans don’t care about/don’t understand, a show that threw away EVERYTHING that was working in favor of a favorite character (Laurel/Back Canary) and comic canon, and crystal clear canyon gap between the first half (before Christmas) and the second half (after Christmas).

    I’m just sitting here waiting impatiently for Greg and AJ to just come back to Arrow already and give balance to the show again.

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  52. Dexter…it was a fun tv show for the first season and a bit and then it went downhill incredibly rapidly.

    Ditto Heroes.

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    1. I forgot about Heroes. I’d run home to catch it. “Save the cheerleader. Save the world.” Maybe some shows have a shorter lifespan than the producers believe. I felt that way about Damages too. I couldn’t wait for another episode. It didn’t have much longevity though.

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    2. I quit Heroes the day that Sylar killed Elle for no good reason other than “I’m just eeevil, again.” Fuck that.

      I did enjoy hearing the Tobolowsky Files episode in which he talked about filming on that show and how nobody knew what was going on. (Stephen played Bob Bishop.)

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      1. I always thought that Heroes was a victim of the writer’s strike, and that the show could have been better for longer if the timing had been different.

        I’m considering checking out the relaunch next year.

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  53. Once Upon a Time. I was afraid it would go the way of LOST which I also quit watching after the third season I believe. Same as with OUAT. Probably because it’s pretty much the same writing team. They got themselves lost during LOST and it went so far off track I lost interest completely. OUAT did the same thing this last season and I’ve burned out on it.

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  54. I have stopped watching The Vampire Diaries and feel apathetic about The Originals because the leads kill innocent people for stupid, petulant reasons, and I get the sense that the writers want me to feel fascinated by this but instead I just feel repelled. Come to think of it, I quite the Anita Blake books for the same reason. Sociopaths are not nearly as interesting as they believe themselves to be.

    I have mostly stopped watching Supernatural, but that’s just because it’s becoming repetitive with its major plot arcs. This season feels like a rehash of that time that Dean did that morally questionable thing to save Sam and consequences ensued. One of those times. I think there have been several at this point. I still tune in for a comfort watch when the monster of the week looks interesting.

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    1. I quit Vampire Diaries at the end of last season after realizing that I’d only liked one episode, I hated the Silas plot, I hated the Bonnie’s dead plot, I hated watching Elena be mopey, and I hated watching her be douchey because we already had Katherine for that. Feh. And I cannot stand Klaus throwing shit fits and killing people constantly because the sky is black or whatever.

      I’m surprised I am still sticking with Supernatural, but I guess it’s intermittently good or interesting enough to keep me coming back like the mice looking for cheese or something.

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  55. I think I’ve mentioned on here before that I used to love “Glee” but stopped watching it because the characters got too inconsistent. Rachel goes from dissing the Chastity Club, to being Super-Virgin; similarly Emma goes from making hilarious cracks about how Rachel will be grateful later in life not to have a strong gag reflex, to also being Super-Virgin; Santana goes from talking down to the John Stamos dentist because her dad is a real doctor and she has good insurance, to talking about how she’s from the wrong side of the tracks; Will NEVER learns from anything and is constantly behaving inappropriately for a teacher… I could go on forever. Also, showing Finn to be not just kinda jock-dumb but actively stupid (he’s 18 in 2011 but thinks his dad died in the 1st gulf war?), yet planning to be a teacher, seemed to indicate total contempt for the profession as anything more than self-esteem building. Will doesn’t realize he’s a bad Spanish teacher because he’s failing to teach the kids Spanish; nope, it’s because Santana suddenly finds him racially offensive. (Which would have been a great plot point to do as itself, but tying it to Will’s not being cut out to teach Spanish was really annoying. Someone can teach a language while being grossly insensitive to its cultures, and the conflict is actually more interesting that way!)

    I started getting behind on watching the show when the first set of kids graduated… And then they stole Jonathan Coulton’s cover of “Baby Got Back” and my moral outrage overcame my inertia. If they’d done it during the first season I probably would have made excuses so I could keep enjoying the show, but by fourth season it was more than enough to make me swear off.

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  56. First, let me say thank you again Jenny for your Arrow posts. I am sorry to see “Arrow Thursdays” go because I have really enjoyed the discussion here and I have learned a lot. I will miss reading everyone’s analysis and thoughts. Like a lot of others here, I too was a bit disappointed in “Suicide Squad” for all the reasons other commenters have stated so well. The Oliver/Sara/Laurel subplot mess-culminating in Laurel Lance, Relationship Counselor-Seriously, show? I found it distracting and frankly boring. I know I was supposed to care about Oliver’ s cracking under the pressure of Slade, but I didn’t. There was SA actually shedding a tear while talking with Sara but I felt nothing. I liked some of the Suicide Squad scenes and Diggle but it seemed to move slowly. The one thing Arrow has always brung is action scenes but there seemed a distinct lack of action with this episode. I think my favorite scene was Felicity bringing Diggle some hot chocolate. And when a 1 minute scene of a girl bringing a guy a mug of cocoa is the best thing out of 44 minutes, then yes, a show has problems in my opinion. I agree with you Jenny that the show has changed and the loss of focus on Team Arrow along with Oliver Queen’s character regression (for lack of a better term) has hurt the show. I agree with others here there are too many characters and too many plot/subplot threads now. The show has crammed so much in that they can’t do justice to any of it. There’s no cohesion. And yet I agree that in some ways the show feels like it’s running in place, trying to fill up time, because it’s too soon for the big Slade/Oliver showdown- that must be saved for the finale 6-7 episodes away. I don’t understand the direction the show is going in- sacrificing the Team Arrow dynamic instead of building on it. I’m not a comics person, so just having episodes where “comic scenes come to life” at the expense of story doesn’t interest me and this seems to be more the direction the show is going. I don’t want to give up on Arrow because I really liked it at the beginning of S2 and I keep hoping that somehow they can return to those more Team Arrow focused episodes. I won’t be watching the show live anymore but I will continue to check in for the rest of the season.

    I stopped watching “White Collar” this season because I couldn’t take another reset of the Peter/Neal relationship. The conflict felt forced and contrived as well.
    I was a huge fan of “Merlin” for the first 3 seasons but then I started to lose interest. I was more of a casual viewer for the final 2 seasons and I think it’s the only show where I was praying for them to just end it and not to go for another season. That show had a lot of potential that was wasted in my opinion with lackluster storytelling and poor character development. Plus, the show broke the storytelling contract with the viewers in my opinion. Certain things were promised by the showrunners and never happened.

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    1. I gave up on White Collar, too. After how many freaking seasons, they’re still playing the dumb can-we-trust-each-other game? No.

      I went back and tried to finish the Arrow episode again, but it’s just such terrible writing now. (Can a car really outrun a drone?) Laurel shows up, Sara does a fade, Laurel imparts smiling wisdom . . . who are these people?

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  57. I used to love Bones. The dialog was a lot of fun in the first few seasons, though there were some things I thought were stupid. (They need Temperance to testify in a trial, but she’s a terrible witness, because she speaks Science, so nobody on the jury can relate to her. You know what I bet would have fixed it? Tell her, “No Latin, no Greek. Describe your findings in vernacular English.” But noooo, that’s not dramatic enough. Bleh.) But as the series went on, the characterization, of Temperance in particular, became so inconsistent I just couldn’t stand it anymore. She’s anthropologist, she can tell you all about other cultures, but apparently she has no clue how the one she’s living in works – except she knows all the words to “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.”

    I still watch Warehouse 13 because I love the stories about the artifacts, but Pete and Myka just irritate me. They started with a premise of “he’s intuitive and impulsive, she’s analytical and methodical,” which I thought was great, but I don’t think they’ve followed through on that. Myka flails a lot (well, they both do, but I’m more willing to put up with it in Pete, since he’s supposed to be a bit flaky). They both hesitate when they should act, and it’s obvious that it’s a ploy to build up drama, but it just pisses me off. I love most of the other characters though, so I’ll keep recording it in the DVR and watching it as I have time.

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    1. They didn’t just break Brennan’s character in the last few years, they shattered it. I’ve only seen a few since the pregnancy, but what I caught was appalling.

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    2. Warehouse 13 has never been top notch TV but it’s fun enough of the time. I’ll watch Saul Rubinek do just about anything–Artie, Victor on Leverage, Arthur on PoI–so that was enough for me. And I do love the premise, it’s so whacked out and they have so much fun with it.

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  58. “So I have come to the decision that I’m not doing anybody any favors by talking about Arrow. The world is full of TV shows for me to watch that I really enjoy (The Blacklist, Person of Interest, Leverage). Clearly it’s time I stopped talking about this show and stick with stories that work for me.” — Jenny

    I forgot to add to this in my previous point. Please don’t stop writing about this show. I find this blog very therapeutic in my Arrow watching. I for one have really enjoyed the fan discussion this blog promotes. A lot of the other fan boards get very nasty very fast and I’ve yet to see that here… If you bring yourself to watch the potential train wreck next week, I’ll be checking back to see if you have anything to say about it. You could chalk it up to morbid fascination.

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    1. I totally agree with OnlySlightlyNeurotic. if you decide to give Arrow Thursdays another try, I’ll definitely be here.

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    2. If the show gets back on track when the other show runners come back, let me know. But I found this one truly unwatchable, even on the second try.

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  59. “Then I read the Tumblr stuff on Arrow, I saw several places where people had posted Amell’s Facebook post saying he thought it was good that viewers didn’t like his character. He had an explanation, but he’s missing the point. It’s okay if viewers don’t like what your protagonist does…But if viewers/readers don’t like the character, not the protagonist’s actions but who he is as a person, you have a problem.”
    – Jenny

    Yeah I saw something about that floating around online. I get that if a viewer is angry at a character’s actions, they’re invested. They’re watching. But there’s a definite difference between being mad at what Oliver’s doing and not *liking* Oliver to the point I don’t want to watch this version of him. One has me tuning in. The other has me tuning out.

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  60. Bones. I really liked the first two years, but was unhappy with season three (Zack, enough said). I stayed with it even after that, but when Brennan said she was pregnant, that was it. The two or three episodes I’ve caught since have been awful.

    I enjoyed Diggle this week, especially when he was with Deadshot. In fact, Deadshot is really starting to interest me, and if they gave him a spin-off I might watch it. I like him better than Sara. The Oliver stuff this week was really annoying. It was hard to concentrate on the dialogue, because the way Laurel was interacting with Oliver and Sara just made no sense. It did register that they wrote Sara as less annoying this week; in fact, if I hadn’t seen the last three episodes, I probably wouldn’t have had a problem with her in this one. And Stephen Amell’s acting was quite good. But they made such a mess of it before that it’s impossible for me to care. The character violation from the last few episodes is too much to get past.

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    1. Oh, Zack. That made no sense whatsoever. And then rather than give them a real courtship, they gave them a one night stand that was entirely out of character followed by a baby. I’d watched sporadically, but that’s when I quit.

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      1. Me too.

        In a terrible defense of the Zack thing, the actor was becoming mentally ill enough that they needed to get him off of the show for his own recovery. So it was a terrible way to get rid of him, but he sadly was going to have to go one way or another.

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    2. Yep, I quit Bones after Zach. That was definitely a WTF moment for me. I went back for an ep, I think it was a couple of years ago, and they killed off Nigel. Washed my hands off Bones after that.

      Angel. I loved that show. I loved it more than I did Buffy, honestly. Then they started messing around with Cordelia and made her have sex with Connor, Angel’s son. UGH! That scene of Angel on the rooftop watching them? I turned off the TV after that. Went back for its final season, though.

      Dexter. I quit after the third season. Just felt like the character was going nowhere.

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    1. You should check out Archive Of Our Own. It’s where I’ve been getting my Arrow fix lately. 🙂

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  61. Jenny, please erase the previous post. I have no idea how to use tumblr, but apparently, this is the correct link:

    http://textsfromsuperheroes.com/image/80111829648

    Go ahead and erase the fanfic post as well. This is better and I know how high your arrow threads go, and I don’t want to break the blog! People need a space to rant, and those two posts are taking up precious blog space.

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  62. I’d like to know the odds of you taking over the show or Olicity fans paying you to write Arrow fanfiction…I WOULD ENJOY BOTH.

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    1. The odds of me taking over the show are zero. I know nothing about writing for TV; I’m just a story wonk.
      I tried my hand at fan fiction when I was so outraged over Laurel a month ago. It was bad. Moving on.

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  63. Okay, a show not mentioned here already that I gave up on:

    I rage-quit Ugly Betty about halfway through the fourth season when the dad had had a heart attack recently and the daughters were screaming at each other over who had to give up their life to take care of him. At which point my real life experiences kicked in and I was yelling at the TV screen, “FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, THE MAN CAN STILL TAKE HIMSELF TO THE TOILET AND WIPE. NEITHER OF YOU HAVE TO DO JACK TO TAKE CARE OF HIM. SHUT THE HELL UP.”

    I also quit Stargate Universe when they did an episode where they proceeded to not solve the problem by the end of the episode….and then by the next episode it was like nothing had happened. (I am told they did some online finish to the story, but come on.) If a show can’t tell me how it fucking ends and how they solve the problem, then they have no respect for viewers and fuck them. Ditto the one episode of Sanctuary I caught that did the same thing. Why the hell would you do that?

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  64. First, I want to start by listing some of my favorite shows: The Good Wife, Mad Men, Dexter, Entourage, Game of Thrones, Homeland, Magic City, 24, first 2 seasons of PoI.

    I checked out Arrow from the beginning, cuz I loved Green Arrow (Justin Hartley) from Smallville (yes I stuck with the series for 10years, even through the bad episodes/seasons). I was not expecting to get into Amell, but was pleasantly surprised by the dark(er?) interpretation of Oliver Queen. As mentioned by many, I was really impressed with his acting chops. I also loved the visuals (mostly great looking/talented cast, clothes esp OQ’s, castle-like house befitting the family, cars, etc.). Also, like most people/vocal fans, I perked up the moment Felicity showed up. I actually called a friend right after that first scene with her, and said she’s the one I want for OQ.

    I forget which episode into season 2 that compelled me to check the internet as to what the buzz is regarding FS/OQ pairing. I have never done this for ANY show. LO and BEHOLD!!! I had no idea!

    Then, I bought Season 1 dvd, and thought to binge-watch the entire series, including the island scenes which I always fast-forwarded/or ignored during the first airing. Only then did i really really think that it was a great show. Literally, this is what happened to me (no exaggeration)……..

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/ariannarebolini/struggles-of-binge-watching-a-show

    I had no idea there was such a thing as fandom, fanfiction; I got so hooked on reading a lot about Olicity, Arrow, Amell’s fb page… all in the last 3months. i have practically been breathing/living anything Arrow/Olicity.

    Then I found this site. it’s like a slice of heaven, reading your (and everyone’s) take on the show. I’m not very good in articulating why I love a show so much, but you simply nailed all of what I can’t express.

    Then the character Sara showed up alive…. the rest thus far is…… disheartening.

    I’m still hopeful it’ll change for the better again by the end of this season, cuz the show is constantly changing, as in the first season.

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    1. It’s always fun when someone discovers fandoms and fanfiction, it’s a really amazing sub-culture. I suggest the Oliver Queen/Felicity Smoak tag on Archive Of Our Own, if you’re looking for some more Olicity fic. There are quite a few gems there and it’s easier to navigate that Fanfiction.net, especially if you’re new to fanfiction itself.

      Also TV Tropes. You can’t go wrong with TV Tropes. (Though it’s a worse time vortex than Tumblr or Facebook)

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      1. Palak,

        oh yes, I already read most everything in Archive Of Our Own, and Fanfiction.net. I’ve immensely enjoyed a select few.

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  65. Has anyone mentioned Prison Break yet? If there was ever a show that only needed one season….

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  66. Oh yeah, I forgot – Heroes. What a brilliant first season. It was brilliant because it was all plotted to be only one season with those characters.

    The second season was supposed to be ALL NEW characters going through a different “avert disaster” scenario. Because of fan response and network pressure they ended up keeping the many favoured characters and only adding a few new ones from the decided season 2 batch. So the “disaster” changed causing the development of characters to veer off into unforeseen and sometimes ridiculous directions.

    If the writers and creators had stuck to their guns, they might’ve lost some of the S1 fanbase, but they’d’ve gained many who hadn’t glommed to S1 and liked starting afresh. Pity.

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  67. I will still watch Arrow because I love Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards), Diggle (David Ramsey), Oliver (Stephen Amell) and Slade (Manu Bennett). The others are secondary to me. Laurel is annoying and so is Sara. The whole Ollie business is just too childish. They are emasculating him when they call him that in my mind. He’s not that type of person anymore. But, when they decided to make Sara such a huge part of the second half of the season they had to bring him down to her level.

    I found her quite catty towards Felicity in 2×14 in some scenes.

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  68. A book series that no one’s mentioned yet, that I finally gave up on, was JAK’s Arcane Society. JAK’s been one of my go to comfort read authors for a long time, but I just stopped caring about the Arcane Society. One of my fave thing about her books, and I think one of her strengths, is the way she writes about community and family – but in the Arcane books I felt like the plots took over and muscled out the stuff that I actually cared about.

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  69. Eureka! The show broke my heart twice, once when they announced at the end of S5 that S6 would be the last season, and once when S6 turned out to be truly, truly awful. The hate was all about character for me–the number of times that you can turn a character temporarily evil in a season, or maybe an entire show, ought to be limited to one. In S6 of Eureka, Carter becomes the evil version of himself once because he’s in a computer program, once because he’s been fed something that makes him super-smart, once because apparently getting married turned his brain to mush, killing his ability to remotely understand the woman he’d married, and then once more because he’s some kind of artificially created clone person. Five seasons worth of growing affection gone.

    And if it was just him, it might have been bearable, but Henry had an evil self, Andy had multiple versions of evil self, Grace was the traitor, clone-Holly became an evil twin–it was like they found one plot note that interested them that season and said, “let’s see how many varieties of evil twins we can do.” And the right answer to that question ought to be one, max, because as soon as all the characters start turning into evil versions of themselves, you’ve got no one left to trust or care about. (Zane and Allison had both already had their turns at becoming evil selves in S5. Even SARAH had her evil self moment in S1!)

    Yeah, Eureka broke my heart. Of course, the good part about that was that I stopped writing Eureka fanfiction and started writing original fiction instead, so I guess I ought to thank them for it.

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  70. Hoo boy, hope I don’t break the blog with this super-long comment…

    To protect myself emotionally, I’ve decided that all the stuff we’ve been seeing since that moment in Heir to the Demon when Sara collapsed from the self-poisoning is the Arrow version of An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge. I’m running with the idea that what we’re seeing now is Oliver’s fantasy-land playing out of how life would go if Sara lives, when in fact she dies moments later in that same scene.

    I can’t even count the number of series – in movie, book and television form – that I’ve given up on over the years. I thought of a list of approximately ten off the top of my head and I realized that the one thing they all have in common as respects the ultimate reason why I lost interest is that they either broke character, stalled character, didn’t properly arc character, or made so many things happen to a character that even with a healthy dose of belief suspension, I just couldn’t accept that such an enormous number of huge and dramatic things had happened to one person (and yet, in some cases, the character still didn’t grow or change).

    There have also been some shows that almost lost me, such as Battlestar Galactica, Seinfeld, Lost, and Sex and the City, but I stuck it out because I had invested so much already and/or there still seemed to be enough valuable raw material to work with that it seemed worth the risk of boredom to see where things were going. In the end I don’t know that I actually felt rewarded for my loyalty every time. Lost is particularly guilty here: there was SO MANY good things to work with there – that ending could’ve been one of the best of all time. ::Sigh::

    I think the shows that can successfully go in perpetuity (though they may not be “appointment tv”) are the ones like Law and Order where the focus is on something like an examination of a topic (e.g. “what is justice?”) instead of the journey of a character/group of characters. However, the majority of story-telling revolves around following characters, not topics, so telling character-driven stories (not plot-driven or concept-driven stories) really seems to be the thing that people want/need from story-tellers.

    Unfortunately, American television isn’t really built on the model of “leave them wanting more”, it’s built on the model of “this is successful, let’s milk every last penny out of it” and “this is terrific, but it’s not making money, so buh-bye”. As respects the success stories, this sometimes results in things becoming unfortunate has-beens (at best) for a number of reasons. I had been telling my husband for years that I thought a real hole in American tv was the concept of developing a show that would run for one season and just letting it end at one season. I was therefore thrilled when American Horror Story came out with just this idea. Though I haven’t watched each season, the ones I’ve watched have been great. I think a big part of the success in the story-telling is that the show runners have developed characters and stories and plots that can pack a lot in and leave the audience excited for more because they’ve set it up from the start knowing “this is it” as respects time and number of episodes. I really wish it were possible for there to be more opportunities for shows to run for set and known periods from the start, such as 1 or 3 seasons – it might tighten things up considerably when it comes to quality.

    Finally, a semi-off topic observation/question…I’ve been struck with the thought that the writers and staff of Arrow are not opposed to using social media as a means to provide the audience the stuff they aren’t showing on the screen. I’m half-wondering if this is due to what I assume is the age/generation of their target audience. I mean, the target age for The Blacklist is an older audience, so it’s as if those show-runners would never dream of using anything besides the show itself to tell the story. I’m not opposed to using the internet to add to a show’s experience (I think the way Lost approached that with Easter Eggs on things like the Dharma Initiative around the internet was brilliant), but I do have a problem with how the Arrow staff are doing it. They don’t seem to understand that you need to tell the entire story on the show, then use other forms of media for non-essential-to-the-story extras. But maybe this is just me thinking that the staff are actually purposefully doing things the way they are? Maybe it’s more a case of them appearing at conventions and being put on the spot and then they have to explain what they shouldn’t have to explain if they were doing things right within the show?

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    1. Exactly, fiveandfour! The show is supposed to be where you tell the story, not everywhere else! If almost every interview you give involves the storytelling you should have showed us, something’s not going right.

      Honestly, I don’t think the showrunners truly understand the concept of social media. It’s meant to be interactive and the showrunners are using it as a storytelling tool and ignoring its very valuable insight into the fans’ thoughts. If they’d truly paid attention to social media, they would have started making some changes after The Promise.

      Maybe there still is a generation gap? Or maybe social media is still too new to be used effectively in terms of marketing shows like this?

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      1. Just wondering when exactly they were supposed to make changes to 2×16 based on social media’s reaction to The Promise when 2×16 had been filmed before The Promise even aired? And social media can complain all they want but when 99.5% of the professional tv critics that review Arrow liked The Promise, I think even despite the ratings, the producers are actually pretty damn happy with the episode and direction they are going in.

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        1. That’s exactly why I’m not doing the Arrow commentaries any more. The fact that I don’t like it anymore is not proof that the show’s bad, just that I don’t like it.

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      2. I am completely certain it’s possible in the here and now to tell different parts of a story across the platforms of tv, internet, comics, dvd releases, books, what-have-you and have the audience participate in whatever ways they choose and be satisfied and feel they are being told a complete story no matter how little or much they follow each of the platforms. It’s something I’ve been waiting for, actually, and I’m well beyond the teen and 20-somethings in terms of age. (I think there have been some shows/stories that have gone across platforms, but I can’t think of any where it’s been planned from the start that the launches will be more or less simultaneous and the different media versions of the story are intended to operate both independently and as part of the whole.)

        The key will be having a master plan that outlines what will be told where, then launching it with proactive intelligence, not reactive “well, we didn’t show this to you but you need this piece of vital information to understand that…”.

        For example, tv could be the place where all of the foundational elements are laid out, then the internet could be where different but related explorations on themes, characters, or alternate pov’s could unfold.

        It may be that it would have to be a new creation, though – not something like Green Arrow where there’s such an established history. As with Smallville, the established Arrow universe seems to be really messing with the tv version of this story coming into its own full potential as a separate entity.

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        1. I am really interested in this, this idea of exploding story. One of the restrictions of print is that it has to be cost-effective; printing stand alone short stories just isn’t feasible. And while I love graphic novels, the ones in my area of romance and women’s fiction haven’t been graphic novels, they’ve been illustrated stories. So I love the idea of doing a novel set in a fantasy world with graphic novels for shorter stories from that world and twitter fiction as snacks, so to speak. As a writer, I could have some control over novels, graphic novels, and twitter, and that has a great deal of appeal. Maybe set up Twitter accounts for people in contempt novels and do conversations there. I would really, really love to do short stories in a series and release them once a week, like a TV series, then put them in a book with extras the way TV shows do DVDs. There are just so many options for telling stories now, for creating a world across platforms. VERY exciting.

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  71. Really amazed that a bunch of people that claim to be all about Team Arrow and its three “core” members didn’t enjoy a Diggle-heavy episode full of background, character work and awesomeness.

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    1. There is a difference between loving Diggle and enjoying how a story was told. I loved every scene with Diggle in it, even though I thought the flashbacks were unnecessary (more present-day stuff with the Suicide Squad would have been great). BUT I hated how the story was told. I thought it was disjointed and unfocused. I would have loved more of a parallel between the Suicide Squad and Team Arrow, and Diggle realizing that the former is as strong a team as the latter, even if they’re comprised of villains (kindof like Leverage) and have bombs in their heads as motivating factors. I think that would have made the whole conversation when he realizes there are different shades of gray much more organic.

      It’s the same problem with Time of Death. It was a Felicity-centric episode, and I hated it. I love her (not in that episode, but before that), but hated the episode. Same reason: I don’t like how the show is telling its story. It isn’t just about whether I love a character or not, but also whether I can get on board with the way the story is told–and THAT is where Arrow is losing me. Instead of action, I got Sara-Oliver drama and a completely unbelievable Laurel dishing out relationship advice, while Oliver is off doing his own thing and not supporting his partner, and Felicity just stares off dumbly when he says he’s going after Slade alone (even after she points out it’s suicide–THIS is supposed to be the same character who said, “If you’re not going, I’m not going” in the first season finale?). That is lousy character development and storytelling, and even love for Diggle can’t save that.

      Loving Team Arrow, Diggle, and Felicity doesn’t mean I can overlook when a show is failing at storytelling. If the showrunners are happy, I’m glad for them, but it just reinforces what I’ve been suspecting for awhile now: to quote Jenny, this just isn’t my show anymore.

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    2. Don’t be amazed: It doesn’t matter how much you love the characters if the storytelling is weak. Also being a fan of the three working together doesn’t translate to the three being apart. People don’t “claim” to like the central three, they do like them. Together.

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  72. We are close to breaking the blog again and nobody wants that. Take the conversation to the “Writing Across Platforms” post please. The blog and I thank you.

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