One television show that I expected to hate turned out to be one of my favorite things to watch this year- CW’s Arrow. I’m a big comic book fan, and a fan of the original DC comics Green Arrow despite the fact that he’s nothing more than Robin Hood crossed with Batman. You may be asking: “Why would you have possibly hated it?” To be honest, I was not a fan of the show Smallville, and I initially assumed that this was going to be just like it. You may be also getting ready to ask “since when is Arrow a UK sci-fi show?” Well it isn’t, but there are three reasons that anglophiles might be interested in it:
It stars a ton of Doctor Who alumni in substantial roles! I initially assumed that this was going to be just like it.
John Barrowman –
That’s right! everyone’s favorite Time Agent portrays none other than Malcolm Merlyn. Long time DC comic fans may recognize that name as one of the Green Arrow’s main antagonists from his rogue’s gallery. It’s cool to see John playing a villain for once because I think I have only ever seen him as the “good guy”. Even when he had his hair dyed blonde and sang “Spring Time for Hitler” in The Producers, he seemed nice, like he was the good Nazi. Merlyn brings a bit of the darkness we saw Captain Jack wallowing in towards the end of his tenure on Torchwood and redirects it to someone that is even more emotionally unstable.
Colin Salmon –
Colin Salmon is one of those guys that seem to be showing up in everything on both sides of the Atlantic. He has played recurring roles in big-budget Hollywood films like the James Bond 007 films, and a handful of big roles in TV shows. Whovians might recognize him as “Doctor Moon” from the Steven Moffat-penned two-parter Silence in the Library and Forest of the Dead. In Arrow he plays Oliver Queen’s new stepfather and head of Oliver’s family business. He’s one of those characters that you really can’t trust although he seems like a harmless red herring.
Alex Kingston –
Another person that made their Doctor Who debut in Silence in the Library and Forest of the Dead was River Song herself, Alex Kingston. So far Alex hasn’t had the biggest role in Arrow, but she plays a fairly big role if her comics equivalent is utilized. She portrays Dinah Lance, the estranged mother of Laurel Lance, the main love interest in the show. In the comics, both characters were dubbed “The Black Canary” and fought crime in their respective crime fighting generations. So far they haven’t hinted at this in the show, but I think it’s always a possibility.
It’s no surprise that this is happening as the show-runners of Arrow happen to be huge fans of The Doctor. Here is a quote from Andrew Kreisberg about it:
“Especially with shows like Buffy and Doctor Who, there’s a big bad and an overall story that feels like it comes to a completion, and we’ve definitely set that up. We have ways for that story to come to an end, and yet leave you feeling like there are a lot of unanswered questions, and that it’s going to take you into the next season. All of these kinds of genre shows, if they don’t feel like complete seasons, there’s something not quite right. You want to feel like you saw Chapter 1.”
My question is whether or not this casting trend will continue. With Catherine Tate and other prominent UK actors/actresses flirting with American audiences, could we see more Doctor Who Alumni in the mix?