Are Arrow and Revenge Basically the Same Show? A Side-by-Side Comparison

Arrow premiered last week not only to great ratings for The CW, but also to the observation from some viewers (including me) that the superhero drama bears some startling similarities to ABC's Revenge. We've mapped out some of the more telling traits, and it makes us wonder if Takeda didn't also train Oliver Queen along with Emily Thorne.


Emily Thorne/Amanda Clarke

Oliver Queen/Arrow

Family

Dead father, missing mother, and a half-sister who had a little bit of a drug problem but she’s clean now.


Dead father, mother who had Oliver kidnapped and interrogated, and a sister nicknamed Speedy who currently has a little bit of a drug problem.

Melodramatic voiceover

“My father's chance to bring justice to the truly guilty was stolen from him. His only option was to forgive. I have others. They say vengeance is a dish best served cold, but sometimes it's as warm as a bowl of soup.”






“I've been stranded for five years. I've dreamt of my rescue every cold dark night since then. For five years I've had only one thought, one goal: Survive. Survive and one day return home. The island held many dangers. To live, I had to make myself more than what I was, to forge myself into a weapon. I am returning not the boy who was shipwrecked but the man who will bring justice to those who have poisoned my city.”

Guiding hand

Dead father's evidence

Dead father's list of names

Box o'vengeance

A small box with the iconic infinity symbol; contains evidence against the Graysons and their associates, mementos, and the Shamu Cam.

A large green box with a small lock and engraved Chinese characters; contains Oliver's bow, a notebook full of names, and possibly other items.

Hit list

Emily was originally concerned with exacting revenge on a number of people associated with framing and murdering her father, specifically the Grayson family, but she's since turned her attention to those who have kept her mother away from her (who, of course, are associated with the Graysons).

Corrupt business leaders of Starling City who steadily tore down the city while profiting from its collapse. Oliver’s father admits to being one such person.




Money

Investments in Nolan Ross’s company made by Emily’s father have paid off handsomely, giving Emily enough money for swanky digs in the Hamptons.

Despite being “dead” for five years, it seems Oliver didn't have much of a problem accessing funds from his family’s company or offering a $2 million reward for his own head.

Training

Emily found a revenge sensei in the Japanese businessman Satoshi Takeda, and spent years preparing herself for her mission.

Currently unknown, but someone had to train Oliver to do all that stuff. You don’t learn Russian on an island in the North China Sea all by yourself.

Secret identities

Emily Thorne is actually Amanda Clarke.

Arrow is actually Oliver Queen.

Significant others

Amanda-as-Emily lied to childhood love Jack about her identity; now she must watch as the woman posing as Amanda is involved with him.

In the pilot, Oliver pushed away his ex-girlfriend, Dinah Laurel Lance, by pretending to still be the playboy he was before the yacht sank.

Disguises

Emily favors wigs, baseball caps, and jackets to hide her identity. Of course, her entire existence as Emily Thorne is a disguise.


Oliver dons a green hood, a quiver of arrows, a green outfit, and paints on a green domino mask when he goes out as Arrow. But he’s also posing as the debaucherous playboy he used to be before his time on the island.


Have you noticed any other similarities? Share 'em in the comments!

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Reading the comments below - my goodness .. some people are quite dense.
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What about all the name similarities..In episode 4 the guy that killed his wife has the last name Declan, The same name and spelling of Jack's younger brother. I know there is more cause i have been thinking this since i saw the first episode but i will have to rewatch the first 3 to find them.
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Personally I don't have a problem with Arrow being similar to Revenge. The idea of someone rising from the ashes to get back at the people who did them/loved ones wrong is very, very old. It also isn't a particularly complex idea, and can be easily understood by most people. Therefore it is great for television, with a "case of the week" being replaced by getting revenge on a different person each week. So it shouldn't be surprising that there are now two shows that use this revenge formula; in fact, what's surprising is that there aren't more. What we're seeing here is not just two shows that share several similarities, but also two very successful shows that share an obviously effective formula for television. I expect and hope that these two shows will inspire a new genre of television. In my mind, I compare this to the ever-so-popular crime shows where police/private detectives/spies/etc. solve a crime each episode and often solve a larger crime each season. I imagine that a similar comparison could be found between the first shows in this genre. I mean, if Castle and NCIS were the only crime shows on television, couldn't you make just as many comparisons as there are between Arrow and Revenge?
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I can't believe you compared the two shows.
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I would love to see a cross over it would be awesoe. But it probably won't happen.
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First things first thanks for upsetting me by putting in my opinion the hottest lead actress on tv right now (and please bear in mind I actually suffered through most of brothers and sisters because she was on it) with some kind of morphed manly goatee at the top. Second of all clearly tv.com has lost the plot by saying Arrow is like Revenge, a story with a rich family who basically ruined one girls life with a terrorist plot rather than comparing Arrow to Batman begins I mean come on !!!! You can narrow it all the way down to the applied sciences section of the company previously owned by the dark hero's (knights) father all the way to the major crime lord hanging by the skin of his teeth on the docks ???? I hope Christoper Nolan and Dave Goyer are more perceptive than you guys and can see the clear (and to cover myself) alledged playgiarism in this story , writing and what I would presume is direction of the plotline
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The reason that no one is talking about Arrow's similarities to Batman is because that argument has been run into the ground pretty much since the comic book's inception. The Green Arrow is a rip-off of Batman and always has been. This isn't plagiarism to Christopher Nolan, it's plagiarism to the comic books which Christopher Nolan borrowed from for his movies. There are many similarities between Arrow and Revenge that were evident from the first episode. I actually think it's cool that TV has a male Emily Thorne.
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I realize the similarity in the second episode the voice over thing.







what about the fact that the mother figure is involved in this dark conspiracy.



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....I can't get past seeing Emily with a goatee...
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Arrow is one of thee best tv shows out there right now !!! Arrow i can see staying for a good 3-4 years
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Um, if you're doing morph/Photoshop pictures, can you do one of Emily VanCamp in a Batman suit? What? Oh, no reason.
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thanks for the advice Noel. I'm just watching the premiere & I'm glad. There's Katie Cassidy & I didn't know since I ditched all infos on the show from the get go & I'm glad she has something to do other than being damn cute(Melrose, Gossip Girl).

On your subject, resemblances really do exist. However, I had fun watching this & I also love Revenge. I don't think they have duplicated one another, since many of you recalled Arrow existed 1st as a comic book but Revenge was inspired from Dumas The count Of Monte Cristo so I think all this are coencidences, I wish people wouldn't be so hard on one show or the other, because both exist in a different league: super hero vs cheesy cleverly written old-fashioned soap, & i for one love both so be nice folks repect each other's views :) good e

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There is one thing Oliver Queen has yet to show, and that is if he can pull off the kind of faux polite, kind, and concerning attitute that Emily Thorne (and the actress Emily VanCamp) pulls off oh so well in front of her enemies. I mean, that smile she does kills me every time.



Then there's the death stare!
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I'd love to see someone dramatically drop dead when she gives them The Stare.
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Yeah....no. Sorry. While I do agree that there are some cursory similarities here, these are very different shows (though both are highly entertaining!). Even the shows' bases are somewhat different: Emily is concerned with revenge (as the show's title suggests) while Arrow is concerned with justice.



Also, as a side note....that mashed-up picture will haunt my dreams for many years to come....so thanks for that! ;-)
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There really are some similarities , but come on there are also different themes, character arcs, and well one is a woman looking to revenge her familly, and the other is a millionaire playboy that wants to exact revenge on people that distroyed a city. In a lot of ways it's like apples and oranges
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And in a lot of ways, this article was simply intended to have some light fun at the similarities between the two shows.
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What a weakk-ass article - really, you could have made some of the same comparisons with Batman and/or countless other comic book heroes/villains.

But here's where this little thesis pretty much fail to make sense: none of the people Oliver targets in "Arrow" are directly responsible for his father's death. So, unless some unknown revelations in upcoming episodes tell us otherwise, Mr. Queen's motivations and endgame are quite different than Ms. Clarke's.

Two heroes; two very different origins; two very different journeys.
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I did make some of the some same comparisons in with Batman in review of Arrow. Green Arrow, in the comics, had an Arrowcar, an Arrowplane, and even an Arrow Signal! He had a ward who was a sidekick! Lots of money!

Good grief, it's just a little harmless poking at Arrow due to a collection of similar traits to Revenge.
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Interesting... I might have to start watching Revenge.
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You really, really should.
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You should. It's honestly one of the best dramas that still exist. Once you start watching it, you can't get enough!
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You definitely should!!
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As much as I love DC comics and the whole Green Arrow mythos, I'm going to have to go with Revenge on this one. I just love watching cat fights.
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Seriously now. I felt the similarities mentioned in this article, and this is why I didn't think the pilot of Arrow wasn't as great as everybody is saying it is. I tried to watch Revenge and decided it wasn't for me. Revenge stories with female leads remind me of Sydney Sheldon books, which are terrible and are bad clones of the so beloved and great "The Count of Monte Cristo."

On the other hand, Arrow's inspiration is the DC comic books and movies like Batman Begins, so there's hope there. Besides, Arrow contains many more "guy stuff" like fights, use of weapons, parkour, computer hacking, while in Revenge I felt that was an excuse for the protagonist just to be prancing around the Hamptons and trying te lifestyle of the rich and famous.

Finally, Arrow is just beginning, so it might as well take a completely different path than Revenge.

Nice article, by the way.
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Well, I have watched Revenge and now I'm watching Arrow. I do feel like Arrow is the straight men's Revenge.
Pretty much the same story, but with a male lead and more fighting.
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Emily Thorne doesn't go prancing around the Hamptons trying to live the life of the rich and famous. She kicks BUTT and she does it ever so fiercely.
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That's interesting to know. Who knows I might even give it a try one of these days. But quoting the writer of this review, "It's more so that Revenge is in the vein of primetime soaps (or as they often get called "primetime serials") from the 1970s and 80s (think Dallas or Falcon Crest) " and these soaps were always set among rich people, showing how they were rotten, while showing them in parties, mansions and fancy cars, and that 's why I said that. As for kicking butts, I'd much rather see Homeland's Claire Matheson escaping terrorist bullets in the streets of Beirut.
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Wow, misogynist much?
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How's so? Was I wrong about Sydney Sheldon's books? And doesn't Arrow, which has a make lead, have more action and fights than Revenge, which has as female lead? Are you being serious or just trolling me? Please be specific instead of making a vague accusation.
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I've never read a Sydney Sheldon book, so I can't speak to that. I have watched Revenge, however, and from your comments, it seems like you formed distinct biases and preconceived notions about the show, simply because it has a female lead, and not based on the show itself (which you seemed to not even have given a chance because of your apparent bias toward women). When you said that you felt Revenge "was an excuse for the protagonist just to be prancing around the Hamptons and trying the lifestyle of the rich and famous", it gave me the impression that you think that kind of shallow behavior defines all women, and that any show with a female lead couldn't possibly be more substantial than a silly fashion show. Bottom line: From my perspective, your tone and comments show a distinct bias towards things male and a distinct disdain towards things female. That is all.
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"it gave me the impression that you think that kind of shallow behavior defines all women" - So you're accusing me and resorting to name calling based on an impression? How do you (and those who sheepishly thumbed you up) even leap from "I think Emily Thorne is that superficial and silly" to "I think all women are that superficial and silly"? How does your mind even work like that? What a distorted thought process.
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Want great female characters? There's Claire Matheson from Homeland, Olivia Dunham from Fringe, Dana Scully from X Files, Deb Morgan Mother of Dragons
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I'm sorry if I offended you in any way. But it's funny how people, as you did, refer to a show as something that "deserves" a chance. A show is not a human being. It's misogynist to deny a job to a woman because she's a woman, or harass her in any way. It's perfectly OK to deny a show a second chance because of preconceived ideas or bias; it's just entertainment.
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Wow, the similarities won't stop! Let's see:

Emily Vancamp is Canadian = Stephen Amell is Canadian

Emily (5 letters) / Amanda (6 letters) = Oliver (6 letters) / Arrow (5 letters)

Emily Thorne is a woman = Oliver's last name is "Queen"

Emily is good looking = Oliver is good looking (though not my type)

I'm sure there are other similarities.

IT'S PRACTICALLY THE SAME SHOW!!!
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Thanks for scientifically proving our assumptions!
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Arrow is a mix between Smallville, Batman Begins and Revenge. Some people might be offended but is the true, also to say that Arrow doesn't have soap opera elements is lying!
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i constantly see mentioning soap in the context of Revenge, so please tell me what are they because I never see anything of the sort there (though I don't watch soap operas)
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It's more so that Revenge is in the vein of primetime soaps (or as they often get called "primetime serials") from the 1970s and 80s (think Dallas or Falcon Crest) that rely heavily on complicated plots between characters, lots of interpersonal conflicts and romances, and so on.

A better term would be melodrama than soap opera, since, really soap operas have their own unique production cycles and internal stylistic rhythms that aren't completely in line with primetime soaps. The latter borrows from the former, but because of its primetime placement in the schedule, primetime soaps are largely seen as a more "legitimate" form of entertainment.

And, yes, Arrow has the potential for that sort of melodramatic soap stuff, and I even mentioned that n my review of the pilot.
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The writer of this article claims Arrow ripped off Revenge. One problem with that accusation... the Oliver Queen/Green Arrow character was established in 1941 which means it has been in existence for over 70 years. I highly doubt that the TV Series "Revenge" was written/thought up 71 years ago. If anything the pilot episode of Arrow was more akin to "Batman Begins" (an exiled playboy who was traumatized as a kid comes back to town looking to take down a laundry list of dirt bags) and even then that storyline is so common in the world of comic books that you can't really tag it to any one hero.
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Nope, no claims about anyone ripping anyone off anywhere in that. I don't even use the term "ripped off."

And take a gander at my review of the pilot episode of Arrow (linked up at the top of the post), and you'll see that I address that the Arrow/Batman connection for 150-200ish words. So I'm aware of the character's origins and influences to a fair degree.
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The article doesn't claim Arrow ripped off Revenge. Where did you get that idea?
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True, but Revenge is said to be based off of The Count of Monte Cristo, which was published in 1844. I definitely noticed the similarities to Nolan's retelling of Batman's origin, and that's what I think will keep me interested...as long as they don't mess it up.
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There is no way you can compare The Count with freakin' Amanda Clark, unless you are living under a rock
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Comparing Revenge with Monte Cristo is a literary heresy.
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You can compare them all you like as long as you don't say Revenge is as good as Dumas (even though it's pretty fucking entertaining). That would be heresy. You'd never find the same quality in Revenge as in Dumas' writing. I mean come on: "Renee frissonna a ce mot couper, car cette herbe qu'il s'agissait de couper avait une tete." Gorgeously chilling! Revenge just can't match that with its voice-overs. Who could? God I love Dumas. There's a reason half of his stuff has been made into movies/tv shows of varying quality.
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Great answers you too. In a way any modern story involving revenge has to thank Dumas for that. And even going back in time, to Shakespeare (as in Hamlet) and way back to the Greek theater with Sophocles (with Electra, for instance).
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A man was inspired by the Count, that is all. He is no Dumas, and Dumas himself has sometimes pretty weak points in his writing (too much of patronizing and too much of his own opinions as a writer is injected into the story). Though it is quite vivid and compelling nonetheless, and written so that it could be both interesting to someone who is 15 or to someone who is 30
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yes they are very alike but you have to remember at the start of Revenge emily had one single reason, to take down the greyson and not to worry about who get hurt in the way - the arrow is going after everyone and is trying to protect the ones loves exp maybe his mother who look like she maybe one of the bad guys
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People like Arrow because, who doesnt like superheroes? I personally dont like THIS show very much. I think Stephen Amell lacks that "playboy" part, he just seems awkward , too Stiff. Playing "Arrow" he's great, but Grren arrow cannot exist without Oliver Queen.
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I feel like he's stiff and awkward on purpose-- like he's really the Green Arrow just playing the part of Oliver Queen, but he ain't feelin it.
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I hadn't even thought about the similarities but that would explain why I was really enjoying Arrow so much. A Revenge/Arrow crossover would be wicked awesome!!
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I think we should start petitioning to ABC and The CW for an Arrow/Revenge crossover!
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No way!

Arrow is very cool! How about that pull up exercise! damn!!!!Revenge is all its own!



Hey, and why no love for The league???
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The League!!! Yey. Great show. So glad it's back. More Tv.com love for The League!
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all I can say is that picture of Arrow and revenge overlapped is really scary.
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That image might haunt me.
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I thought the same thing while watching Arrow. It's now even more hilariously real!
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Arrow is based on a Green Arrow so obviously Revenge would be the one to be like Arrow.
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And Revenge is based off of The Count of Monte Cristo, which came before Green Arrow.
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Are you saying that Edmond Dantes is like Amanda Clark? Cause if you are you are wrong.....
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And Count of Monte Cristo is based on the true story of Picaud, so I guess art imitates life
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Art does imitate life.
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But a forgery is worth less than the real thing.
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This is blasphemy! Revenge is in a league of it own.
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league of shadows?
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That picture will haunt my dreams tonight.
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I agree, but I can't help but be drawn in by it.
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I know. That may be the scariest part.
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I wouldn't mind some bow and arrow action on revenge.
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What does Lily Sparks think of this?
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The composite picture of them is disturbing.
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I want the record to show that I had nothing to do with that picture. I also want the record to show that I wish I had thought of it. I'm seriously tempted to make it my avatar, but I don't think it'll have the same effect at such a small size!
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What composite picture? You mean the two of them side by side? Disturbing? Crossover episode soon! How bad could it be?
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Composite means something made up of distinct components. Like how that top picture is the two of them compounded into one big ass load of nightmare fuel.
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It was only on the homepage before, but we've now added it to the story page too for your visual (dis)pleasure.
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I need to watch Arrow ASAP because I love Revenge and if it is the male version of revenge I bet it's a good show.
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Green arrow was around first. Except i thought his family died when he was little...(in Smallville Lex Luthoes dad killed Olivers parents, & oliver & lex went to school together, where oliver picked on him)
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the original green arrows family never died, the story in smallville was made to tie him in to the show more
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... are you citing Smallville as canon?
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Green arrow was around first but as you pointed out the original is very different than this tv show.
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The Count of Monte Cristo was around first.
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totally btw, but i miss the days when revenge was semi plausible, now she's a ninja dark defender looking for the truth about her undead mother...

sad.
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Considering her mother can help clear her father's name, and the fact that she is her MOTHER, it's not unplausible that she's looking for her. She just doesn't know her mother is closer than she thinks.
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I posted a thread on IMDb with the same comparision after i watched the pilot :D



I like Revenge more, even if i always think it's very soapy, but i think it's soon.

Arrow should be more serious, it has that dark "feeling" but the plot + acting doesn't do me nothing.



Also the soundtrack it's almost copy/paste from revenge.
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I like them both, but for different reasons (though I think Revenge has become a touch dense with the incorporation of the Americon Initiative).
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This comment has been removed.
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The original green arrow story is very different than this tv show
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The Count of Monte Cristo came out first though, which is what Revenge is based off of.
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I'm tired of all these female character leads. I don't want to watch some skinny model pretending to be able to beat up men. I want my superheros to be strong handsome men! I'll take Arrow over this revenge show.
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Might I suggest you watch Revenge before you judge it? Sure there are a lot of female lead shows on television, but not a lot of those female leads are actually independent strong female characters who don't need their lives to be saved by some guy.
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For real, Emily is so badass and even though noaln helps here out its clear to everyone involved that she's HBIC!
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Oh, that morphed picture is soooo disturbing.
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Seriously! If that image doesn't convince people we're just having a little fun, I have no idea what will.
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morphing with a purpose
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This is how fan fictions come to exist. I'm sure there's already some Revenge/Arrow FanFics in the making already.
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Arrow takes on his most ruthless nemesis: Death Stare. Known as power hungry and evil Victoria Grayson by day, and...power hungry and evil villain by night. The one that can't seem to die, no matter how hard you try. Signature weapon: knife (in the back). Weakness: expensive shoes.
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Conrad Grayson teams up with Moira Queen to bring ruin to Lex Luthor.
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I hadn't thought of this while watching the replay of Arrow (oh how I wish it were on a different time) but there was something familiar, then I read an interview with the guy playing Arrow and he was jockeying for a cross over episode and the light bulb went off for me.
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I have not seen this! Do you have a link to the interview?
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The author must have pulled something to contort a batman lite superhero show into a Dallas-esk drama. They are both TV shows, both an hour long... blah... blah... blah. One of them shoots arrows at people and gets into well choreographed fights clearly putting it into the action category. They may share similar back stories but that is pretty much where it begins and ends. They are hardly copies of each other.
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Are you serious? It's basically the same show! Couple months/years from now you're going to have an epic facepalm moment.



It's not just that the main characters are similar, it's the plot, the subplot, the supporting characters... make a playist with the two of them back to back, and you'll see it. Like daylight.
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Funny you should mention Batman! During the first season of Revenge, I thought of Emily as sort of Batman-esque, using her wealth in a pathological way to right a wrong done to her in her childhood (now we find out she had all this training!). She's just a bit more singularly focused than Bruce Wayne ever was.

Oh, I'm sorry, was I contorting again?
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That brings to mind the headline on our review of Revenge's Season 1 finale: http://www.tv.com/news/revenges-season-finale-emily-is-batman-28758/
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Mr Kirkpatrick (the author) stated below in a comment "This is just poking some light fun at their base similarities. " They're obviously not carbon copies.
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I knew there was a reason why I enjoyed Arrow's pilot so much :-)
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do you mean I should watch Arrow after all???

promised I was done with CW after TSC debacle

at least the pilot had more viewers(TSC's pilot only had 3M)

I love Revenge & I'm always in for a good super-hero show

so folks should I watch Arrow???
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I had decided that I was not going to watch any new CW shows and just bow out when the ones I do watch go off the air, but it replayed on Friday and I decided to record it. Then watched it and was like damn it, why are you on the time you are on?
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Joking aside about similarities with Revenge, I think there's a lot to like in Arrow, and if you're looking for good superhero stuff, Arrow show signs, at least in the pilot (we'll see how tomorrow goes!), of meeting that criteria.
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You absolutely should. It was one of the best pilots I've seen in a long time and it has great potential (so long as The CW don't screw up... again!)
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Agreed!
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I really enjoy Revenge and based off the Arrow pilot that too. I actually became more engrossed with Arrow due to it reminding me of Revenge (like you've pointed out here, but mainly his own "box"). In Revenge Fauxmanda took out Victoria's snooping lap dog (after her strip club scene... his name fails me). What I would like to see from Arrow (but who knows), is for Oliver to have an ally in secret like Emily does (maybe Tommy?)... then that would be another similarity.
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Frank was his name.
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That does it! These two being essentially the same show is great news. Now I can stop watching one of them, or maybe alternate between the shows every other week, since I can still keep track of the identical plots. Intertwining the two plots in my mind also gives me an opportunity to entertain the fantasy that Emily Thorne/Amanda Clarke is secretly in love with Dinah Laurel Lance/Black Canary.
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Unbiased recommendation: Just keep watching Arrow and reading my reviews. ;)
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Fine. I will continue watching Arrow. But to make it challenging, I will first read your reviews, then watch the episodes. After that I will judge the show based on how well the story follows your texts.
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Drats. Now the pressure's on.
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Since I've just caught up on Revenge, I thought the same thing too!
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The key element to know if it is truly similar to Revenge will be the plot. Is the plot aswell handled as it is in Revenge? If not, then it's not the same, no matter how similar the base materials are.
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Of course. This is just poking some light fun at their base similarities.
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