It is a little bit late to recommend this show, since it is already way into the second season, but better now when there is still a chance to catch up than later.
I admit, the last network I would expect to produce a remotely feminist show is CW. Or a show I really like in general. The typical CW show has a strong emphasis on romance (especially love triangles) and a tendency to top the other network by not just casting good looking actors, but ridiculous good looking ones. In fact, some (not all) of those seems to get cast mostly for their looks but for their acting abilities.
But for Arrow, this habit for once works to the advantage of the show. Unnatural good-looking just fits into a comic book setting. Plus, this time around they picked mostly decent and even a couple outstanding actors. Still, I wouldn’t have expected any interesting female characters from a show which mostly advertises with the abs of the male cast.
Fact is, though, that this show is full of compelling female characters – with a few exceptions. Still, there is ensemble dark horse Felicity, who became a regular for season two, Thea who developed from an annoying teenager to a layered character, Moira who has many facets, some of them very dark, survivor Sara and street kid Sin. They are all strong characters who are just a joy to watch.
It’s still a CW show though, and it does sometimes fall back to problematic writing, especially when it comes to the romantic relationships. Currently I’m alternating between cursing and praising the episodes for the way the female characters are portrayed. Still, I think there is a very good chance that one of them will get a proper article when the third season is finished.
The show itself started out wonky, but once the roles of the characters had been established it took off. This is one of the few shows which manage to surprise me sometimes. Some storylines are better than others, but what is always good are the action scenes. And to be honest…the eye candy is not that bad either – no matter which gender you prefer.