We can never have too many TV series based on comics, right? (Well, assuming they aren’t cheesy.) With recent hits like “Arrow”, “The Flash”, and “Daredevil” (yes, I lump Netflix in with “TV”), networks are getting increasingly adventuresome and willing to try new things. “Supergirl” will makes its official debut in October, and we already know about a few more shows in various stages of development and production — e.g., “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow”, “(The?) Titans”, “Krypton”, and Netflix’s growing stable of Marvel-based series.
Over the past three months, I’ve seen at least three comics- & movie-oriented sites publish articles proposing ideas for what other Marvel and DC properties should be adapted for the small screen. There were several concepts floated, and I agreed on a couple, but the rest I either thought were much better suited for the large screen (e.g., “Jack Kirby’s New Gods”) or just wasn’t sure it could hold its own as a series (e.g., the goofy “Major Bummer”). So, I got thinking about what comic characters/titles I thought might make fun TV series. I’ll give you my Top 7 from DC now, and in a few weeks I’ll do the same for Marvel….
Steel: Lan Pitts at Comicbook.com suggested Steel, and I like the idea. (Yes, there was already a big-screen Steel movie starring Shaquille O’Neal, but we don’t talk about that in polite company.) As loyal Superman readers know, John Henry Irons is a gifted mechanical engineer and inventor who became one of the replacement “supermen” in the “Reign of the Supermen” story-arc, following Superman’s death at the hands of Doomsday. He later became friends with the resurrected Superman, and the armored “Steel” became a respected member of the superhero community. I think the best time to place the series would either be in the early days, when Superman was still considered dead, or much later, when Irons was semi-retired as a hero and trying to focus on making his Steelworks facility a successful developer of non-lethal weapons and other equipment for groups like Metropolis’ Special Crimes Unit. During the latter period, his teenage niece, Natasha, also lived with him. This could make for a nice combo of hero-ing, business, and family struggles.
Dial H for Hero: I can’t remember what I read or heard in passing recently that reminded me of this title, but the more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea of adapting the “everyman hero” series for TV. If you are unfamiliar, the basic premise is that there is a mysterious device that looks like an old phone dial with ancient runes on it, which enables an ordinary person to temporarily become a superpowered being — complete with name & costume — by dialing H-E-R-O. (These superheroes are usually brand-new, but on one occasion the dial caused its owner to become a duplicate of an existing superhero, Plastic Man.) Dialing O-R-E-H returns the person back to normal. In some versions, other words could be spelled out on the H(ero)-Dial with varying repercussions. Also, sometimes the possessor of the dial was able to either subconsciously or actively influence the results. I envision “Dial H for Hero” for TV as a sort of anthology series with several people using the dial each season. Either each episode is self-contained or, better yet, have 3- to 4-episode story-arcs. Maybe a mix. Not only would there be the opportunity to tell different kinds of stories with different kinds of protagonists with different sets of powers (costume optional), but it also allows for jumping around to different locales in the DC Universe. Sounds like a lot of fun to me!
Blue Beetle: I admit I’ve never been a huge Blue Beetle fan, but the idea does have potential for a live-action adaptation. Reece Jones at MoviePilot.com suggested adapting the Jaime Reyes version. That might work. I remember reading the first several issues of his comic series years ago, and the teen character was likable and had an interesting origin story. It incorporated the alien scarab, which also gave the original Blue Beetle, Dan Garrett, his powers. If done right, it could have a fun, Spider-Man-like vibe. My preference, though, would be to do the Ted Kord (New Earth) version of Blue Beetle. Assuming it is true to the source material, that could make for some humorous hijinks action as the commercial tech company CEO develops gadgets and plays superhero. The Bug ship would be a kick to see, along with some of his other weapons. Maybe pair him up with Booster Gold on occasion to escalate the hilarity? (Of course, it might also make sense to have Booster appear in “Legends of Tomorrow”, given his time-traveling and connection with Rip Hunter.)
That’s enough for this week. I’ll discuss the other four next time. I think you’ll like ’em. ‘Til then…