“I AM in love.”

That was the single line email from a friend who’d just viewed the first episode of Arrow.

I’m guessing the moment those words came into her mind was a scene where our hero, or anti-hero, Oliver Queen is putting himself through a tough workout – shirtless, of course – in an abandoned factory he’s converted into his lair.

Arrow follows Queen, a bad-boy playboy who’d cheated on his girlfriend with her sister, Sarah. When his billionaire father’s yacht sinks, killing everyone on board including his father and Sarah, our bad boy is stranded on a mysterious island for five years.

He’s finally rescued and reunited with his mother, her new husband and Oliver’s sister Thea (Willa Holland).

But the Oliver who’s returned is nothing like the one who left. It’s not only his body that’s badly scarred; something happened on that island and exactly what is being revealed to viewers through his flashbacks, but slowly.

Whatever nightmare he faced, Queen may pretend to be a playboy (by night) but he’s now also a brutal fighter (also by night) who dons a hood, picks up a bow and becomes a vigilante who’s working his way through a list of names his father left him of those who have done the city wrong.

Though it’s tricky being a superhero when he has to elude the bodyguard assigned to him by his family after he was abducted in episode one.

Stephen Amell (who’s had smaller parts in everything from The Vampire Diaries to Hung) brings a brooding, dangerous intensity to Oliver Queen.

Katie Cassidy (the first Ruby in Supernatural) plays Queen’s ex-girlfriend Laurel Lance and The Dresden Files’ Paul Blackthorne features as her father, Detective Lance who’s out to catch our caped (well, hooded anyway) crusader.

For those worried this might be a Smallville spinoff, given the character Green Arrow featured in that series, forget it.

This is dark and dangerous, more The Dark Knight than Smallville, and this Oliver Queen is edgy and troubled.

Given all that, and even though it is early days, it’s shot straight into our top 10 recommended shows.

It’s a good pick up for Nine for 2013 and is bound to attract a following.

HOT, HOT GUY ALERT: What can I say? Stephen Amell obviously spends a bit of time in the gym – take note of the “training” scenes in episode one and you’ll be an Arrow believer. “Stephen Amell workout” has quickly become a much clicked-on Google search.

ACTION ALERT: Arrow is far from being a series just for the girls. Oliver Queen is a true action hero, not to be underestimated and certainly no sook.

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