For The CW, awards show season means the People’s Choice Awards and Teen’s Choice Awards — that’s it. When it comes to the big juggernaut awards show, the Emmys? Forget about it.
The younger-skewing network has historically been consistently shut out when it comes to Emmy nominations — let alone Emmy wins. Even when the network puts forth the effort to campaign for its stars and shows, nothing comes of it. There will be zero CW nominations, which results in zero wins. And that’s a shame.
Sure, The CW does have a younger audience, its ratings aren’t competitive with other, bigger networks, and most of its shows are genre, but that doesn’t mean it lacks quality programming — and more importantly, quality acting. In fact, the truth is quite the opposite. Case in point: “Arrow” star Stephen Amell.
Last fall, “Arrow” Season 1 shot out of the gate with a bang, not a whimper (The premiere drew in 4.02 million viewers and a 1.3 demo rating, making it the CW’s highest-rated drama since 2010. It was also the CW’s most-watched series premiere since megahit “The Vampire Diaries” debuted back in 2009). Critics and fans everywhere couldn’t get enough. Praise for the gritty, dark, comic book series could be found all over and social media blew up each Wednesday night as aired episodes became events. And while the show itself was fantastically created and written, most of the credit goes to Amell’s portrayal of party-boy-turned-shipwrecked-survivor-turned-murderous-vigilante-with-a-secret-identity Oliver Queen.
Now let’s get one thing clear right off of the bat: a lot of criticism that CW shows face is that, because all the males are hot, each episode has at least one shirtless scene. And sure, this rings true a lot of the time — if you’ve got the eye-candy, why not show it off?
But why is that a hinderance on the quality of the show? If anything, Amell’s commitment to working out and maintaing his impressive physique should be an additional reason as to why he deserves an Emmy. Check out this clip of an early Season 1 episode of Oliver Queen training in his secret headquarters:
No, that’s not a stunt double. That is actually Amell performing the extremely-difficult-to-master salmon ladder. That’s no easy feat, especially for an actor who can so easily call in a stunt double. But Amell is dedicated to “Arrow,” and performs most of his own stunts. He trains in Parkour to give authenticity to scenes where Oliver is tearing through Starling City with no tools except his own arms and legs. His skills and physical prowess are apparent in every action scene.
But regardless of Amell’s physical fitness, it’s his acting skills that really shine. He’s proven that Oliver Queen is not just something nice to look at. There is a deep, complicated person under the hood. In fact, it could be argued that Amell is playing three different characters — three different versions of the same person. There’s the rich party boy struggling to survive for five years marooned on an island, the hooded vigilante killer that party boy has become in the present after returning home, and the facade that vigilante presents to his family and friends so they don’t know his secret life. And then later on in Season 1, Amell took on a fourth iteration of Oliver: the pre-shipwreck party boy douchebag who cheats on his girlfriend with her sister in a flashback-heavy episode.
The way Amell portrays each of these four versions of the same person is awe-inspiring. They are all clearly the same person with the same mannerisms, but the differences — both subtle and obvious — really set them apart. You know exactly who you’re seeing without any additional information needed. Amell is Oliver Queen … all four versions, though the truest version is the one shaped by the island that broke him down and built him anew. The vigilante is his true self: Oliver Queen is the mask that hides the soldier within.
“Arrow” is a new take on an old comic book story, completely fresh — even in the wake of CW-darling “Smallville” recently having its own version of the Green Arrow played by Justin Hartley. While that Green Arrow was light, fun, and witty, this new perspective completely re-imagines the DC Comics character in a gritty, dark, and violent way. Amell’s Oliver wipes the slate clean.
If any CW star can score an Emmy nom — let alone a win — it’s Amell. His incredible work on “Arrow” is more than deserving of the recognition. But will the Academy members see it that way? We’ll find out Thursday morning (July 18).
Who’s on your Emmy wishlist for this year? See more of Zap2it’s picks at our Emmys page.