If you do not watch Arrow or Gold Rush, this may not be the post for you. You’ve been warned…
Those who know me well know I am a HUGE Arrow fan. I binged the first two seasons just prior to the season 3 opener and I was SO hooked. It was the type of show I’d been missing from my television lineup. I was never a comic book girl, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every Michael Keaton and Christian Bale iteration of Batman that’s been produced. I still think Gene Hackman’s Lex Luthor is probably THE BEST comic book villain portrayed in a theatrical release EVER. And I always look forward to whatever DC or Marvel creation is being brought to the big screen next. So though I wasn’t necessarily familiar with the story of The Green Arrow, the show had me intrigued and my appreciation has just continued to grow to epic proportions ever since.
Clifford can’t stand it. Every time I have Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow or Supergirl on (yeah, Greg Berlanti pretty much owns my eyeballs Monday through Thursday), Clifford rolls his eyes and starts to moan. No matter how amazing the episode, how action packed, how captivating the storyline, he scoffs and pokes fun and does this irritatingly asinine commentary for the duration of the show. The man likes Batman, Spiderman and any one of the The Avengers films or their characters’ stand-alones he’s seen, so I don’t get it. Of course he didn’t like Affleck’s Daredevil, but then who did? It’s not like he doesn’t like those types of stories or that sort of action. Here is Clifford’s argument summed up in four words – it’s all the same.
He wanted to offer an argument, so I offered mine in return.
He thinks that every episode that airs is the same old same old and he can’t watch. Too boring and too terrible. Here’s the rub – Clifford’s favorite show (next to Modern Marvels) is Gold Rush. IF EVER THERE WAS A SHOW ABOUT THE SAME OLD SAME OLD IT IS THAT ONE RIGHT THERE. Don’t get me wrong, I can watch and enjoy Parker’s struggles and Tony Beets’s gruff attitude as much as the next guy. I am more than happy to watch Todd Hoffman’s inevitably stupid next move, but if we want to compare apples to apples (as in same old same old) let’s look at the facts here.
I watch a show about a hero’s journey. I am watching the story of a rich playboy idiot child on his way to becoming a beloved superhero man. There is ever growing character development, ever evolving plots, and an ever expanding universe. I am a spoiler fiend and yet I still sit on the edge of my seat wondering how a character is going to react to the latest curve ball coming their way. What will Oliver Queen or his team do? What villain’s throwing his hat in the ring? Who will come back from the dead? What wrench will be tossed in to shake things up? Where are they going with any of this? And why isn’t John Barrowman gracing my screen more? These are things that keep me invested. These are the things that keep the show fresh and different and compelling week to week.
Now let’s take a gander at Gold Rush. Even if you are invested in the characters, the only curve ball they’re thrown is what piece of rusted old equipment is going to break down next. That is the only question. Oh, and maybe what super moronic decision Todd Hoffman’s making after that.
Let’s talk character development first. In what, 5 or 6 seasons? I haven’t seen an ounce of growth in Todd Hoffman at all. And even though I readily admit, Oliver Queen often takes many steps back from that latest step forward, he’s gone from a serial killer in the first season to running for mayor of the freaking city! That’s something. That’s momentum. That’s progress. Todd Hoffman made poor life and rather arrogant choices from the beginning and those choices only seem to become poorer and more arrogant as the seasons continue. Gene switched teams, but is that progress? Parker has gotten taller. I suppose that counts for character growth even if it’s the more physical variety. After six years, each of Clifford’s little gold miners seems the same. The fight scenes, which tend to spur growth in any character in some way shape form or another, are just that, grown men yelling at each other and getting pissed off and walking away – a fight, sort of like what teenage girls do in middle school. No hand to hand combat, parkouring, swordsmanship or special powers to unfold anywhere on screen (though even in a middle school girl fight, there might be at least some hair being pulled). Nope. Just some miners’ egos getting in the way of the job leading to brief heated confrontations, and ending in public complaints on camera.
Now about plots … saying your goal is to bring in more gold than the previous season does not an ever evolving plot bunny make. In fact, it is the EXACT SAME PLOT year in and year out. There is no uniqueness to it. And the only thing keeping you on the edge of your seat is whether or not the excavator or the dredge is giving way this episode causing all the mining to come to an abrupt and utter halt. Seriously. Thanks to the dramatic score, there’s your tension. And like the Titanic sinking at the end of the film, it is never a surprise ending.
And let’s address an ever expanding universe. Todd Hoffman’s self-inflicted fiasco in South America doesn’t count. In Alaska. Always in Alaska mining this creek or that.
I will say, like my thoughts on more Barrowman, I’ll take more of John Schnabel any day. I LOVE that man.
In breaking it down, there is no contest in my mind which is the more interesting, dramatic, action-packed, ever changing story unfolding before me. I’ve tried repeatedly to explain these points to Clifford; I try to make my argument so he’ll see these things and maybe give Arrow a chance.
Then he dropped the why I will never get through to him on this.
“Here’s what it is – I could watch a channel that did nothing but show machines working and moving all day long. No people. Just watching machines doing their thing. Hauling dirt, drilling shit, grading sites, whatever. All day long. Every day. That’s my dream TV.”
I can’t argue with that. Like I can pretty much argue with anything, but I can’t with that.
But Arrow still wins. Every. Time.