There’s simply no denying it: Walking Dead is a monster hit. And when a comic property is successful outside of comic shops, it doesn’t take long before the right people take notice and start mining those comic shops for more potential hits. But we’re not telling you anything you don’t already know when we assure you that you will be seeing more comics on television, and soon. Marvel has long since announced the formation of a TV division of Marvel Studios, with Incredible Hulk and Cloak & Dagger listed as top priorities for small screen adaptation. But we’re wondering how long it’ll be before DC gets the ball rolling and starts a stronger push toward putting their characters on the boob tube? Smallville’s days are numbered and something’s got to replace it. Where else will teenagers get their fix of romance, angst and metahumans? Twilight?
You heard us, DC – if you don’t get on the ball and put some emphasis on the small screen as well as the big one, you’re just driving people to Twilight. Don’t argue with our logic, just listen to our pleas. You’ve got a million hot properties ready to be exploited that don’t need million-dollar budgets. Just as Marvel TV is planning a focus on street level heroes, DC needs to do the same. Here’s a few suggestions off the top of our heads.
It seems like the most obvious choice but with the success of the Dark Knight in Hollywood, it’s probably the least likely. The story of Batman’s protégé leaving the nest (or cave) to strike out on his own and carve his own niche in the superhero world would make for excellent episodic viewing as far as we’re concerned. And if DC played it right, the show could even tie into the larger, connected world of DC movies… assuming we’re going to get a larger, connected world of DC movies.
As much as we love the idea of a singing cowboy who becomes a crime fighter, it’s probably best to go with the 1980’s interpretation of the character for a television series. This one was Adrian Chase, a former New York district attorney who donned a ski mask and fought crime using non-lethal force until allowing a police officer to die as a result of his actions. Becoming increasingly conflicted by his form of justice and the pain he caused, Chase eventually retired to become a judge while others took on the guise of the Vigilante. Eventually being drawn back into his costumed role, Adrian saw his identity revealed on TV, continued to lose his tenuous grip on sanity and eventually killed himself in the final issue of his series. That oughtta take about three seasons, right? Perfect.
No, we’re not talking about a Smallville spinoff. We don’t want a sexy teenage archer in sunglasses; we want adult heroes, not the Jonas Brothers in tights. So let’s see something of a superhero version of Moonlighting packed with comedy, drama, action and loads of sexual tension between our constantly bickering heroes. Hell, make it a Smallville spinoff if you want to – just make sure you set it a few years in the future so we get something a little closer to the real Green Arrow. We want to see that trademark goatee and mustache, baby!
We love Steve Ditko, but we aren’t necessarily big fans of objectivism, so we’d shoot for the more Zen-minded version of the Question that Dennis O’Neil and Denys Cowan gave us in the late ‘80s. We want to see the guy who doesn’t go after petty thieves and crooks but instead tackles the corrupt politicians who inhabit Hub City. We want to see the hero who was unsure of just how far to go in his quest for justice, even considering to take a life – just to see what it felt like. Mostly, we just want to see that sweet mask interpreted for a live-action show. We wouldn’t even mind if Renee Montoya was the lead character instead of Vic Sage. Actually, we might even like that better.
He’s a disgraced sports hero and thief from the future who comes to the 21st century in order to pose as a superhero. He’s a glory-seeking, showboating celebrity more interested in fame and fortune than actually saving lives and protecting the innocent. But somewhere along the way (over the course of a season or two), Booster learns what being a hero actually means and starts to turn his life around. Let’s face it, no one wants to see a Booster Gold movie (except for those of us who think a Booster/Blue Beetle flick would be the best thing since Lethal Weapon); but as a weekly TV series, it could work. Especially in the celebrity and tabloid obsessed world in which we live.
It’s true that DC doesn’t put the same sort of emphasis on their street level heroes as Marvel does, but if Smallville has shown us anything, it’s that you can do decent special effects on a TV budget, hence our inclusion of Booster Gold. So if a costumed vigilante bounding across rooftops doesn’t strike executive’s fancies, maybe another live-action Flash or a Green Lantern Corps TV show would work? Though we’re not exactly partial to it, we have to admit that Smallville has given us plenty of characters that could be spun off into their own shows as well.
And we haven’t even mentioned Vertigo! That’s a list for another week, but with more and more adult material on cable these days (including the aforementioned Walking Dead), why not Fables, Y: the Last Man or (dare we say it) even Preacher? We’re keeping our fingers crossed and making a list for a future Comicscape.
Are you listening DC? We want to see superheroes on TV and we want to see your superheroes on TV. Get to it before Marvel floods the market!