Tagged: Dobie Gillis

Mike Gold: TV Comics – Room For Another?


This is the time of year when the broadcast networks start to reveal their pilots for the upcoming fall season. The fact that the broadcast networks still think in terms of a “fall season” is simply adorable.

The greatest contribution given to us by the American broadcasting industry is their reimagination of the rubber stamp. So we’ve got a few spin-offs of presently successful comics shows – ABC is toying with a show featuring Mockingbird as an Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. castoff, and NBC is considering a show called Powerless about superpowerless wannabes who work at an insurance company. Yes, you’re right: we used to call superpowerless people “people.” Now they’re “powerless.” If this one hits air, it might be renamed “Super-Ability Challenged Beings.”

By the way, I hate the word “reimagine” so much that I’m going to start calling it the “I-word.”

So. How many comics-spawn teevee shows can we squeeze into our lives? Surprisingly – well, at least I’m surprised – at least one more.

The CW is shooting a pilot called Riverdale, staring the brand-new, modernized, more realistic, more plot-driven Archie Comics stalwarts. If, like me, you have no life outside of pop culture you might remember this show being under development with Fox. Well, they punted and, quite frankly, the CW is clearly a better fit.

According to the hype, Riverdale is “a surprising and subversive take on Archie, Betty, Veronica and their friends” – I guess this means somebody is going to miss her period – “exploring the surrealism of small town life, the darkness and weirdness bubbling beneath Riverdale’s wholesome façade.” OK, so this show is likely to be less realistic than, say, The Gilmore Girls.

One of the folks responsible for the recent editorial growth over at Archie Comics is their chief creative officer, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. He’s also worked on Supergirl, Big Love and Glee. Roberto’s an executive producer of this teevee show. Having a comics person with media chops in a supervisory position on such a program is de rigueur, and it’s a very good sign. So is having Jon Goldwater on board – he’s Archie Comics’ CEO and his family has been steering the Good Ship Archie since the original carrot-top’s creation 75 years ago. Jon can protect the family jewels, and that puts Archie one up on DC and Marvel.

The fact that Greg Berlanti is another executive producer and Riverdale comes from Berlanti Productions is… well… the obvious choice. Berlanti has more comics-related teevee shows on the air than Carter had little liver pills. He produces Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow. He also wrote the Green Lantern movie, but we won’t hold that against him. He is, or at least was, attached to the The Flash movie that is unrelated to his The Flash teevee series.

Yeah, I’m intrigued. I’d like to see a teen comedy that speaks to our times. Oddly, the first show that did this was The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, which Archie Comics felt was a direct rip-off of their property. I can debate that point, but this isn’t the time for that. However, I will say that show contained Warren Beatty’s finest performances.

We’ll see if the CW picks Riverdale up. I just hope that sooner or later they get around to adding Cosmo the Merry Martian to the cast.

Martha Thomases: Party Time!

I’m having a hard time focusing this week. See, Sunday is my annual Hanukkah party, and I’m in a tizzy making sure that I have enough food for my guests. My parents taught me that if I don’t have leftovers, I didn’t get enough. I don’t know how many people are coming.

Which is complicated even after the food is ordered. There’s the entertainment.

There was a time when I had a day job and most of my friends had day jobs, and we’d see each other at the various office parties we attended. In my time, I’ve attended holiday parties at DC and at Marvel. Both were fun. Maybe I wasn’t looking hard enough, but I never saw any of the shenanigans associated with office parties. No one was photocopying his naked butt. No one was having sex in a closet, or in a desk piled with coats. Nobody even vomited in a public place. Everyone was aware that while this was a party, it was a party on the job, and no one was going to be too embarrassed to come back to work in the morning. At least not that I saw.

Those days are gone. People don’t have permanent jobs so much anymore, and those that do either don’t have parties or have tougher security so I can’t get in.

Which is fine. I mean, my favorite thing about my party is the mix of people. There are my friends from high school, from the neighborhood, and from knitting. There are people I know from the peace movement and from freelance journalism and from comics. Sometimes some of my son’s friends show up, which makes me feel like the cool mom.

It is the mix that entertains me. I like to see who clicks and who doesn’t. Naturally, because I honor my inner eight-year-old, I then wonder what it would be like if superheroes had holiday parties.

When Clark and Lois (I like to think they’re still married) host a tree-decorating party, does Bruce Wayne come? Does Guy Gardner? I like to think so. If they do, how are they introduced?

For that matter, when Tony Stark has a party, does he invite Bruce Wayne? They would seem to travel in the same circles. Holiday parties are the perfect place to plan new corporate strategies. Lex Luthor would probably have to be there, and I’m sure Stark Industries does enough business with the federal government to have a relationship with various embassies. Wonder Woman would certainly have to be invited.

A lot of superheroes know intergalactic aliens. Does this make catering more difficult? I don’t think there is any reason to believe that a Kree or a Dryad or Martian can eat, much less digest food from Earth. And what does that do to the plumbing? Is that covered by home-owners insurance?

I would bet the Guardians of Oa (not the Galaxy) have an etiquette book that answers these questions.

Any party is improved with a touch of the unexpected. Certain characters, not born in comics but occasional residents, should be welcomed. Bugs Bunny, Yogi Bear, Dobie Gillis, Jerry Lewis – these are folks who add spice to the mix. And they would be someone for the Angel and the Ape to talk to.

Would any of these parties be as much fun as mine? I doubt it.

Have a wonderful Hanukkah party, folks. I wish you the most landings on gimmel.