Unsung Hero: “Arrow: Stunt Series” Shows How Much Stunt And Fight Choreography On TV Matters

Credit: The CW
Credit: The CW

What would our favorite TV-show be without their more or less developed action sequences? Especially in genre-fiction, such as superhero shows, fighting scenes play an important role and often take up a large part of the episode. Ever since Arrow started shooting about three and a half years ago, their team of stunt professionals has done an outstanding job of choreographing and executing our favorite action scenes.

Over the course of the the last three seasons, the Arrow team has provided us with behind the scenes snippets in a special called “Arrow Stunts Series”. It features scenes from stunt rehearsals, often compared to the final product, and offers insight from Arrow’s fight designer James “Bam Bam” Bamford.

He always makes sure to clarify that “the action scenes you see on screen are designed and rehearsed by [a] team of stunt professionals” and that they “use stand-in props and a bit of imagination to help it all come together.”

The latest installment of the Stunts Series takes a closer look at the fight against Captain Boomerang from episode eight, “The Brave and the Bold”, the second part of the Flash/Arrow crossover. James Bamford explains that due to safety issues, no real boomerangs were used in the scene, but rather added via CGI in post-production.

In another edition, he talks about the Arrow vs Cupid sequence during episode seven, “Draw Back Your Bow”. As Cupid is not really out to hurt the Arrow, but rather in winning his affections some elements of their fight have “sexual overtones”. A full playlist of season three stunts can be found on The CW’s Youtube channel.

As someone who is very interested in the creation of moving images and the process of making television programs, I think the Stunt Series is a fantastic addition to the 100% the cast and crew already give every day for the episodes we see on screen.

Sadly, the stunt team and choreographers do not get the attention and recognition they deserve. While I agree that the characters explored and the stories told on Arrow are fantastic and should definitely be the main focus of the show, the people behind the cameras make it all possible.

What would Arrow be without the epic fights? Whether it is the Canaries facing it off or Oliver fighting the legendary Ra’s al Ghul, the fighting sequences are more than just fillers, and it takes a lot of time to plan and execute such a scene.

Fanart: Lord Mesa
Fanart: Lord Mesa

When last year’s Emmy nominees for Outstanding Stunt Coordination did not include Arrow, I wasn’t the only one who was slightly irritated.

The Arrow himself, Stephen Amell, posted about it on his Facebook page: “Instead of getting mad that Arrow wasn’t even nominated for Outstanding Stunt Coordination at this years Emmys, I think we’ll just go on producing the best action on television for the third consecutive year.”

No show currently on air (out of those that I watch, which are decidedly too many) offers the same quality in action scenes as Arrow does. So while I thoroughly enjoy the Stunt Series (a big thank you to the person responsible for releasing those) I am hoping for more recognition (please in form of several awards) for Bamford and his kickass team, and all the hard work they do, in the future. These guys deserve it.

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