News and Commentary

CW’s ‘Arrow’ Gets Political: ‘Unapologetic Progressive’ Producer Targets ‘Conservative Agenda’

One surefire way to get yourself blacklisted in Hollywood is to openly admit that you are trying to promote conservatism. But declare war on the conservative agenda, and you’re in like Flynn (not the former NSA, the other guy). That’s exactly what the executive producer of CW’s DC Comics-based TV series “Arrow” did in a recent exchange with reporters, and, of course, it earned him several glowing headlines in the Tinseltown trades.

Self-described “unapologetic progressive” Marc Guggenheim proudly announced to reporters this week that he is personally going to make sure “Arrow” starts taking on more hot-button social and political issues from here on out. The reason: “not talking about issues serves a conservative agenda.”

“I’m an unapologetic progressive,” Guggenheim told reporters after a screening of the new, politically charged episode. “But the thing that I’ve noticed is that not talking about issues serves a conservative agenda, not a liberal agenda.”

(By the way, while The Wrap included the first part of that quote, other reports conveniently left out his “progressive” declaration.)

The first topic the show has taken on: gun control. Wednesday’s episode, ominously titled “Spectre of the Gun,” features a masked shooter who terrorizes City Hall. The attack leads to a city-wide gun control debate, with politicians and vigilante heroes taking various positions on the issue.

Guggenheim underscored that they were deliberately trying to take the show in a more political direction, particularly after the election of Donald Trump. In fact, he wrote the gun control episode the week of Trump’s historic upset of Hillary Clinton.

“We went into Season 5 wanting to do an episode about an issue,” he told reporters. “Gun violence felt like the right topic, because of its topicality and because of the level of gun violence is on ‘Arrow.’ We could have done an episode on abortion, but that’s not really where the show lives. So gun violence really felt like the right thing to tackle.”

Guggenheim’s decision to politicize the DC Comics show comes as Marvel — for whom he also serves as a comic book writer — prepares to “move away from the heavy-handed politics” and social justice themes and focus more on good old fashioned storytelling. Which will be the wiser choice? I’d be put my money on the one that doesn’t alienate half of its potential audience.

Trailer for “Arrow” below: