It’s becoming painfully obvious that Warner Bros/DC Comics can not get their act together with movies. But what they lack on the big screen they make it up in spades in TV shows.
Arrow starting it’s 3rd season shortly and it’s spin-off the Flash on the CW, with iZombie as a mid-season show. Gotham on Fox. Constantine on NBC. And now rumors of a Supergirl and Teen Titans TV show. Just about every channel is having a show based on a DC comic book. (Except ABC, but they’re Disney/Marvel only)
I started to take a look at the DC Universe and tried to figure out what other properties might make great TV shows.
Now this isn’t a definitive list, but I tried to take into account how much a TV budget would be.
- BIRDS OF PREY – This first one seems like such a no-brainer for an Arrow spin-off. Season 1 we had Huntress/Helena Bertinelli making a couple of appearances. In the upcoming season, the Black Canary will be introduced. All the producers need to do is somehow introduce Oracle/Barbra Gordon. Maybe have Felicity be the Oracle character, or introduce someone new. Yes, Birds Of Prey has been done as a TV show before, but so has the Flash, so why not give the ladies another shot. At least this time, they can really do it right.
- SUICIDE SQUAD – Again, another no-brainer for an Arrow spin-off. The team has already been introduced. The core would be made up of Amanda Waller, Deadshot, Bronze Tiger, and Harbringer. Depending on what happens with Diggle on ARROW this season, you could have him a permanent member of the cast. Or introduce Rick Flag as field leader. Then have one or two other members just for the mission. Make it like the Dirty Dozen or Mission:Impossible. You just don’t kill off a character every week.
- NIGHTWING – Back in 2008, the CW announced it was going to do a show based on Nightwing or the first Robin, however you like it. But the way they wanted to do it was all wrong.The show was to be called GRAYSON and it would have a pre-Robin Dick Grayson. The problem was the producers wanted Dick as an older teenager. This concept would have made no sense whatsoever. A better way to do it would be, you have the show take place in between Dick’s transition from Robin to Nightwing. Something along the ways of Dick’s just been fired by Batman, and decides to go back to the circus. You see him go from the Boy Wonder to the man known as Nightwing. Though Nightwing has been announced as part of the proposed Teen Titans show, it might be a conflict.
- DEADMAN – Think a little like QUANTUM LEAP meets THE FUGITIVE. You still start off with Deadman getting killed, and you can still have him possess bodies. But when he does possess a body, we are looking at Deadman, not the person being possessed. All I ask is you show him in the mask just once, and then you can take it off after he dies. With this show you can have 2 main plots. 1st is Deadman trying to find his killer. 2nd is Deadman serving the deity Rama Kushna, to try to pass on to the afterlife. Pretty simple.
- GRIFTER – Just your friendly neighborhood gunslinger. One of the most popular member of the Wildstorm Universe and currently a popular member of the DC Universe New 52. For the plot, something along the lines of THE EQUALIZER. This would seriously just work. But if you do Grifter, YOU HAVE TO HAVE HIM WEAR THE MASK! This is essential. As seen in the comics, Grifter has worn the mask with just about every type of clothing, and once that’s all he was wearing.
- THE QUESTION – Yeah, yeah. I know. Brian is putting the Question on another list. I love the guy. What can I tell you. If you read the series from Denny O’Neil & Denys Cowan, it just screams episodic television. The stories are complex, thought provoking, and extremely entertaining. The Question is a multi-dimensional character, with many layers. He doesn’t always see things in black & white. He see a lot of grays. The only difficult part might be the costume. In this case, it’s to try to make him look faceless. It could probably be done with make-up or CGI in post.
- MARTIAN MANHUNTER – A lot people don’t know that in his first couple of appearances, Martian Manhunter posed as a human police detective. It wasn’t until 5 years later he started permanently appearing in his true Martian form. If you look back at those first couple of stories, it can make for some great TV. A police detective that’s trying to adjust life as human. You can still have him use his powers, but he does is it in secret. Not the most original idea, as it’s been done many times before. But it’d be cool if you did one with a DC character. Especially a legend like the Martain Manhunter.
- SANDMAN MYSTERY THEATRE – This was a period piece that was set in the late 1930’s. There have been other shows that have been set in the past. Look at BOARDWALK EMPIRE. It’s set close to the same era. The comic is a perfect example of Film Noir. And Sandman’s costume is so simple. A suit, trench coat, fedora, and gas mask. There was so much intrigue and mystery in the books, it would translate so well onto the small screen. And it’s not just the story of the Sandman, it’s more about a male & female team. Wesley Dodds and Dian Belmont. They almost come across like the old THIN MAN movie series. Hey, if ABC can do a period piece show based on Peggy Carter, why not this.
- STARMAN – Take a heroic legacy. Now take the only one to carry on that legacy is a reluctant son, who feels the entire thing is just plain silly. In the comics, Starman is a legacy that Jack Knight, son of the original Starman, must carry on. It’s not a job he wants to do, but he does it out of family obligation. And he does on his terms. This comic series just always intrigued me. The characters were all multi-dimensional. You find yourself asking if it’s really worth it for Jack to carry on this tradition of being a hero. And this is the type of show that really needs a good supporting cast to really get the full effect.
- MANHUNTER – Imagine the last thing you remember is being killed back in the 1950’s. Then you wake up in modern times. Fully healed. And now image the ones that healed you, cloned you as well, many times over. Then those clones are used as an enforcement branch for a secret organization that is trying to change the world in their own evil image. That’s what happened to World War II war hero and spy Paul Kirk. He decides to stop the organization at any cost including killing his clones. Because every time he kills one of them, he feels he gains a part of himself back. That was the plot from the multiple awarding winning story from Archie Goodwin and Walter Simonson. The concept of having to fight people who are your exact duplicates is just a cool concept and would work great on TV.
Well, that’s what I could come up with so far. I know there are some other great books out there that would make for some great TV, but these are the ones that just pop into my head.
And some of them might work better in the movies rather than television.
Who knows, maybe someone will see these, take the idea, and run with it.
One can only hope!