Continuing on from last week’s Part 1, here are four more DC properties I think could make great TV series, ranging from regular cops to super-cops (sort of) to superheroes to super-science. (Just to be clear, I am proposing live-action adaptations.) Heck, maybe somebody from DC will see my ideas and pass ’em on to the relevant people. Yeah, I’m dreamin’ again.
I know some DC fans really want to see The Question (aka Vic Sage) adapted for TV, and I’d be OK with that. But, I was never a big fan of the character, so if I had my choice of DC-based (private?) detectives, it would be…
J’onn J’onzz, the Martian Manhunter: Reece Jones at MoviePilot.com suggested adapting JJ, but I’d been thinking about this for a long time. I didn’t much care for the “Smallville” version, and it just seems like the character is being neglected in the DC Cinematic Universe, too. He’s a great character with lots of potential, so maybe a TV series is where he can find a home. What I would like to see is J’onn working as either a police detective (as he has done in the comics) or a private detective, preferably in a city other than Gotham or Metropolis. (I think he lived & worked in Denver for awhile in the comics.) The series would focus on his cases, which he works mostly in human guise but, of course, he would need to surreptitiously use his superhuman powers — e.g., flight, superstrength, invisibility, shapeshifting, phasing, telepathy, etc. — from time to time. Maybe some of those powers will be reduced in strength or even gone. (Temporarily?) Occasional references to past and present cases with the JLA could be fun and interesting to see him explain his absences to friends & co-workers. Or, maybe he could be on a self-imposed hiatus from the JLA. There would be personal and professional tension, as he tries to live life as a human (most of the time, anyway) and perhaps struggling with Martian-specific issues and memories of his dead family & race. The right take on all of this — drama, action, suspense, with a dose of humor — could be just what the Martian Manhunter needs to get the live-action respect he deserves.
Continuing with the police detective genre…
Gotham Central: Unfortunately, this one will never happen (in the near future, at least), since DC already has a GCPD show called “Gotham”. While I am enjoying that show, I would much prefer that they had done one based on the acclaimed “Gotham Central” comic series. As such, it would take place when Batman was already a well-established vigilante hero and many of the familiar villains had also been around awhile. The series would, of course, be a police procedural “cop show” — sort of a Gotham-style “NYPD Blue”. Assuming it followed the comic series pretty closely, it would be set post-No Man’s Land, after Gordon had re-staffed the GCPD but then retired, leaving Michael Akins as Commissioner. The focus would be on detectives like Renee Montoya, Crispus Allen, Marcus Driver, Romy Chandler, Nathan Patton, Sgt. Jackson Davies, Capt. Maggie Sawyer, and others. Costumed heroes and villains would turn up for some story arcs, but most of the detective work and arrests would be by Gotham’s Finest. OR, the series could be set at a different time, when Gordon was Commissioner and Bullock part of the crew. In that case, it might be possible to keep the appearances of costumed types to a minimum, maybe limited to being in shadow, at a distance, or captured briefly on camera. The idea would be to focus on the cops, of course, as they deal both with normal crime/criminals and with the weird crazies that Gotham is infamous for. Throw in a frustrated assistant district attorney or two, and that is the kind of show about law enforcement in Gotham City that I’ve been wanting to see. It’s been a few years, but I need to read “Gotham Central” again. I wonder if my library has the TPBs….
Birds of Prey: As you may know, there was a “Birds of Prey” TV series over a decade ago that didn’t last long, and deservedly so. (I still watched it, of course. Dina Meyer and Ashley Scott were HOT!) But, I think we can re-use the title. What I would prefer to see developed would be an Oracle-centered team straight out of the comics, with her calling upon various female heroes (e.g., a seasoned Black Canary, Batgirl, Huntress) and even villains (e.g., Catwoman, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy) to go on missions for cases Oracle is working on. The emphasis would be on cases mostly independent from or, at best, peripheral to those Oracle works on with other members of the Bat-family or the JLA. But, there could be fun references to those other heroes, villains, and stories from the comics. This would be a total “girl-power” series, but it might make an interesting companion show for “Gotham Central”….
Project Cadmus: This series would be quite different from the mostly street-level crimefighting of the above proposals. From the DC wiki, “Project Cadmus is a scientific research center located just outside of Metropolis. It is primarily known for its achievements in genetic engineering and its human cloning capabilities. Its notable creations include the Golden Guardian (a clone of the original Guardian) and Dubbilex, a DNAlien telepath who resembled a tall grey alien with horns.” If I remember right, some (all?) of those who work there also have living quarters on-site. The premise, then, would be to follow the personal and professional activities of Director Mickey Cannon, Security Chief Jim Harper (aka “(Golden) Guardian”), Dr. Serling Roquette, Dubbilex, and various other residents as they deal with clones, mutants, scientific discoveries, technological breakthroughs, experiments gone wrong, pressure from the military, industrial espionage, sabotage, personnel issues, ethical questions, etc. Oh, and a superpowered hero or villain might stop by — or be created? — on occasion, too. Plenty of exciting elements for weekly action and drama….
What do you think? I tried to stay away from concepts that would require heavily F/X-laden episodes all the time, because those usually mean huge budgets. On the other hand, anything involving occasional use of superpowers, advanced tech, and/or intense action is going to involve some cool F/X, and that’s pretty much expected with a comic adaptation. I also tried to present a variety of characters and settings — from research labs to police precincts to average joes/janes “on the street”. I think you will agree that there is a lot of potential. I just hope the powers-that-be at DC & Warner Brothers are smart about realizing that potential.
* All ideas copyright Christopher Harris, 2013-2015.