Mike Gold: Television Is The New Comic Book
As you know, Arrow and Agents of SHIELD were picked up for their third and second seasons, respectively. DC has no less than three new shows on three different networks: The Flash on the CW, Constantine on NBC, and Gotham on Fox.
The pilots to Flash and Constantine have appeared courtesy of the usual suspects – except this time, I strongly believe The Flash pilot was leaked by Warners or the CW (note: the last time I paid attention, Warner Bros owned only about 45% of the CW) and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the same was true about Constantine… which, by the way, was leaked right after we all had our chance to go nuts over The Flash. Hmmmm.
Both pilots were worthy of attention. The Flash was better than I suspected; the supporting cast is excellent and I’m very happy to see John Wesley Shipp playing Barry Allen’s dad. Whereas the Constantine pilot features a female lead who will not be the female lead of the actual ongoing series (and that’s too bad), I’ll give them serious points for showing us Doctor Fate’s helmet. A policeman named Jim Corrigan, a.k.a. The Spectre, should show up sometime around Thanksgiving.
The pilot I’d most like to see is Gotham. Everything I’ve heard, read and been told has my Bat-sense tingling, and the few people I know who have seen it are quite positive about the series: each one said he or she thought it was superior to the other two pilots.
The new Daredevil mini-series is already being shot out here in New York; location shooting includes the real Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood. The subsequent four Marvel Studios mini-series in The Defenders quintet (Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist preceding The Defenders team-up) will follow.
But here’s the bird’s eye lowdown on the next television season (and, yes, I’m taking the broader view of “season” as that term is no longer relevant in its original form). We will have Gotham, Arrow, The Flash, Constantine, and Agents of SHIELD plus an Agent Carter mini-series presumably in the middle of SHIELD’s season, all on broadcast television. And we’ll have The Defenders quintet on Netflix.
That’s 11 shows. Being a fan of Community and Doctor Who, I have no problem with 12 episode seasons. Looking at cable originals, I think writing a dozen episodes per season results in better television.
Getting back to my admittedly vague point, I can’t name 11 comic book-based ongoing prime time television series prior to Arrow. Superman (several versions), Smallville, Wonder Woman, Spider-Man, The Hulk, The Flash, Birds of Prey… I’m sure I’m missing one or two, but I said I couldn’t name 11, and I can’t.
Of course we’ve got all these cool Marvel Studios movies, and Warner Bros is at least trying to follow their lead with their Justice League movie run-up. I despair only for Fantastic Four mach 2 and any future iteration of Spider-Man mach2.
I’ve liked what I’ve seen thus far. To be honest, I’ve liked these shows more than I’ve enjoyed their published DC and Marvel counterparts in recent months. For the first time in the 100-year history of superheroes on film and digital, it’s the comic books that now have to catch up.