DC Comics has managed to produce an impressive number of popular, live-action TV series based on their superhero properties in recent years. These include “Arrow”, “The Flash”, “Supergirl”, “Legends of Tomorrow”, “Gotham”, “iZombie”, “Black Lightning”, and the most recent hit, “Titans”. (I haven’t checked out that last one, yet, as of this writing.) The only one I know for sure that is planning to end in the near future is “Gotham”, which debuts its 5th and final season this January. Meanwhile, though, DC has a few more tentatively scheduled to debut in 2019, and those are what I wanted to briefly review this week.
I already mentioned the “Batwoman” and “Stargirl” series in my “Girl Power!, part 1 of 2” post a couple months ago. The former will be spun off from the recent ‘Elseworlds’ crossover event in Flash/Arrow/Supergirl. It will star Ruby Rose as Kate Kane, Bruce Wayne’s (very lesbian) cousin who takes over Wayne Enterprises in Wayne’s absence, while also protecting Gotham in the guise of ‘Batwoman’. I thought she did OK in her ‘Elseworlds’ appearance, but I certainly hope the new series forces Rose to expand her acting range beyond the stoic-tough-chick bit.
From the way the “Stargirl” series is developing, I wonder if it should be called “Stargirl and the Justice Society”. In addition to Brec Bassinger in the title role, the JSA is going to include Joel McHale (Starman), Henry Thomas (Doctor Mid-Nite), Lou Ferrigno Jr. (Hourman), et al. I like the JSA but was never a huge fan. But, I’m curious to see what they do with these characters. (A few more details and links re the “Batwoman” and “Stargirl” series can be found in the above-linked post.)
Another re-imagining, “Doom Patrol” is set to spin off in February, after a few of the characters guest-starred in an episode of “Titans”. This is a quirky group of misfits with weird powers and a lot of psychological baggage. Or, as the DC press release put it:
“The Doom Patrol’s members each suffered horrible accidents that gave them superhuman abilities — but also left them scarred and disfigured. Traumatized and downtrodden, the team found purpose through The Chief, who brought them together to investigate the weirdest phenomena in existence — and to protect Earth from what they find. Part support group, part Super Hero team, the Doom Patrol is a band of super-powered freaks who fight for a world that wants nothing to do with them.”
Sounds like fun! There is the danger, of course, of it getting quite campy/silly. But, with smart writing and decent performances, it could be a great series!
Notables that have signed on include Timothy Dalton (The Chief), Brendan Fraser (Robotman), Matt Bomer (Negative Man), and Alan Tudyk (Mr. Nobody). No surprise, the show is being executive produced by Greg Berlanti and Geoff Johns.
Speaking of weird, “Swamp Thing” is coming to our screens, as well:
“Based on the DC Comics characters created by Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson, the one-hour drama series would follow CDC researcher Abby Arcane, who returns to her childhood home of Houma, Louisiana, in order to investigate a deadly swamp-borne virus. She develops a surprising bond with scientist Alec Holland, only to have him tragically taken from her. But as powerful forces descend on Houma, intent on exploiting the swamp’s mysterious properties for their own purposes, Abby will discover that the swamp holds mystical secrets, and the potential love of her life may not be dead after all.”
The character first came to TV in a series (following two movies) starring Dick Durrock (1990-93). I never got into this character, either in print or on TV — just not my cup of bog water. But, it does look like it’s got some big names behind it. For example, Jennifer Beals, Ian Ziering, Virginia Madsen, and Will Patton will all have roles, with the monster himself being played by Derek Mears. Then there is Mark Verheiden as one of the writer / exec producers, and James Wan and his Atomic Monster Productions cohorts will also be producing. Len Wiseman will direct the pilot (and maybe more). Could be a decent series, so I’ll probably give it a look at some point.
Last but not least, we have CBS’s in-development “Secret Six” series. To be honest, I am unfamiliar with this team. But, from what I read, there have been a few incarnations in the comics, with members including second- and third-tier characters, as well as first-tier (e.g., Lex Luthor, Penguin, Bane). The one constant is that membership always consists of six diverse individuals, gathered and directed by the mysterious ‘Mockingbird’, who may or may not be one of the “field team”. As per the Variety article,
“The project, which has received a pilot production commitment at the network, follows six morally ambiguous strangers, each with their own unique specialties and secret pasts. They are brought together by an enigmatic figure who blackmails them into working as a team to expose the corruption of the corporate and political elite….
Rick Muirragui will write and executive produce, with Bill Lawrence and Jeff Ingold executive producing via Doozer Productions. Warner Bros. Television, where Doozer is under an overall deal, will produce.”
As far as I can tell, no actors have signed on, yet.
If I had to guess, I doubt they’ll have any of the first-tier characters in the line-up, but I could be wrong. Either way, I’m not sure how I feel about this project. The basic idea doesn’t thrill me, but I suppose it could be good if executed well. Muirragui has been writing/producing “Suits”, one of my favorite dramas, for years. If the writing is as sharp for “Secret Six” as it is for “Suits”, it could be a surprise hit!
And that brings us to the end… WAIT, no, there’s one more….
“Metropolis” is being developed for a 2019 debut, too! Along with “Titans” and “Doom Patrol”, this makes three live-action series Warner Bros. is creating for the DC digital service. Not to be confused with SyFy’s “Krypton” series that already aired, this will be another Superman prequel.
“Metropolis will follow Lois Lane and Lex Luthor as they investigate the world of fringe science and expose the city’s dark and bizarre secrets…. [I]t promises to show us a wondrous and awe-inspiring City of Tomorrow, before the emergence of Superman, and establish much of the Man of Steel’s world leading up to his arrival.”
Still in the early stages, apparently, there are no actors attached, as yet. “Gotham”‘s John Stephens and Danny Cannon will also executive produce “Metropolis”, with Cannon directing the first episode from a teleplay by Stephens — story by both Cannon and Stephens.
“Metropolis will likely have a considerably different tone than Gotham. Superman’s villains are also more powerful, cosmic and rooted in science fiction than Batman’s, so one can only imagine there will be much less emphasis on street level gangsters and crime families in this forward-thinking city.”
Color me intrigued! This one, I’ll definitely be looking forward to….