You certainly can’t say there aren’t enough superheroes on TV these days. With the success of shows like The Flash, Arrow and Agents of S.H.I.E.LD. it seems that the powers that be of the TV world have decided to keep pumping out shows based on comics or comic characters. There are currently six comics related shows on network TV with the likes of Supergirl & Netflix’s version of Daredevil on the way. Brian Michael Bendis’s Powers just debuted on the PlayStation network as well.
I remember a time when you would be hard pressed to find any superhero/ comic shows on TV. I still have a particular fondness to the 70’s version of The Incredible Hulk. As cheesy as it could be it still had a ton of heart and it was pretty much the first show to treat the material seriously.
Even with the plethora of material already on TV here is my wish list of 5 comics/ characters that would make for awesome TV.
5. Conan: The Barbarian ( Dark Horse Comics)
We all remember the entertaining and sometimes cringe worthy Arnold Schwarzenegger movies from the 80’s and I’m sure we’d like to forget the remake from 2011. The ongoing success of shows like Game Of Thrones and Vikings shows that if you put out quality people will flock to it. There was a time where no TV executive would touch a show like this with a ten foot blade of Cimmerian steel. The time is ripe for a chance to bring back one of the true legends of the Sword & Sorcery genre. The key here is not to dilute the material. It could work on network TV but I feel it would fall nicely somewhere on cable TV.
4. The Spectre ( DC Comics)
This DC comics character is little known outside the world of avid comic readers but thankfully TV’s Constantine seems to be putting his name out there a little more. I’ve always had an affinity towards this character. He is a spirit of vengeance carrying out his from of justice from within a human host. Essentially DC’s version of Ghost Rider. Seeing as Ghost Rider has had two movies based on him already, I figured it was time to give the original Spirit Of Vengeance his due. When I read John Ostrander’s run on The Spectre from the nineties I realized that this type of long form storytelling really works for the character. There were a vast number of supporting characters that you cared about and the material went everywhere from controversial to convoluted, in a good way. they really used both the philosophical and violent aspects of the character to their advantage and had very little limitations. The same could conceivably be accomplished with the proper group of directors and writers. This is another one of those comics that can go as dark as it needs to.
3. The Punisher ( Marvel Comics)
Speaking of dark, I bring you good old Frank Castle.I’ll give them credit in Hollywood. They keep trying and trying with this character. There have been three separate films starring The Punisher and not one of them turned out well. They all had their moments but none of them really captured what the character was about. They focused to much on the gimmick and not the man behind the gimmick. People often cite Garth Ennis’s run on the Punisher because he doesn;t pull any punches and he doesn”t hold back. While I appreciate his work I feel that some of it may be extreme for extreme’s sake with the exception of Ennis’s story line BORN. If a TV show followed a story line closer to Greg Rucka’s fantastic Punisher run we’d be set. It is the perfect marriage of character development and bad ass. Much like the Spectre, if this was a show that was on TV it has to be darker than the norm from the Marvel camp. Let’s hope we can have a Punisher on the small screen we can all be proud of.
2. Judge Dredd ( 2000 A.D. Comics)
Extremely popular in the U.K. but not as well known in North America is Judge Dredd. The Stallone movie in 1996 was more of a miss than a hit but the Dredd film in 2012 hit it on the mark. Unfortunately not a lot of people went to watch Dredd in theaters when it came out, pretty much killing any chance of a sequel. While it developed a cult like following and did very well on DVD/ Blue ray, it doesn’t appear a sequel will happen. I throw out the idea of giving Judge Dredd his own show in the same universe and style as the DREDD film. This would work so well given the rich history of stories already out there featuring this character. ON top of that the world of Megacity one gives a TV show limitless possibility in terms of diffrent types of stories to tell. This would be a very comfortable fit on H.B.O.
1. Gotham Central ( DC Comics)
This is it. The clear number 1 for me. Most people who haven’t read this may think this is a retread of the current show Gotham. It’s not. Gotham makes a good attempt but after reading Gotham Central there really is no comparison. Gotham Central is about the Cops who work in Gotham WHILE Batman patrols the city. It’s an intriguing idea that works surprisingly well. Imagine being a Cop in a city that really may not even need Cops for the big cases because Batman takes care of everything. The characters are rich and were so well developed that two of them became a big part of the DC universe. Essentially Gotham Central could be Law & Order with Batman in it. I know that there seems to be a hang up about actually putting an established Batman on TV but that’s the beauty of it. Batman makes very scarce appearances in the comics but when he does show up it’s very powerful. The focus is on the cops and their world. Gotham Central is in my opinion tailor made for TV. I strongly recommend you seek out this series which only ran for 40 issues.