Posted: 19 Jan 2013 11:56 PM PST
Comic books are invading your TV screen! We round up a list of comic books we would love to see on TV.
IT is a great time to be a comic book fan and a TV addict. With the phenomenal success of The Walking Dead, the rising popularity of Arrow (based on DC Comic's Green Arrow character), and the upcoming S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series from Marvel, it seems TV show producers are now recognising the potential for great TV shows in comic books.
While there have been live-action TV treatments of comic books in the past, most of these have fluctuated between being pretty good (Smallville), cheesily iconic (The Incredible Hulk with Lou Ferigno, Lynda Carter's Wonder Woman, and Adam West-starring Batman series) and plain bad (Mutant X, Swamp Thing: The Series and the low budget The Amazing Spider-Man).
Most have focused on trying to bring a popular superhero to the small screen, while the only recent attempt to adapt a more mature and edgier comic I can think of is the rather uninspiring Human Target (based on the Vertigo Comics' edgy psychological thriller), which downgraded the intriguing main character (a bodyguard who literally takes on his clients identities and personalities to protect them) to a boring, colourless bodyguard-for-hire.
That was way back in 2010, the same year that a little show called The Walking Dead was released. Based on Image Comics' series of the same name, the zombie apocalyptic TV show became a smash hit, and proved that there is a way to translate some of comic books' sometimes outrageous stories onto the small screen, and that it doesn't really take a superhero in a costume to do it.
With that in mind, here are 10 non-superhero comic series that can and should be turned into live-action TV shows.
1) B.P.R.D. (Dark Horse)
The premise: Remember that big red guy with horns and a big stone hand whom you might have seen on the big screen a couple of times?
Well, this is the story of the guys he hangs out with. You know, the green fish-guy, the gaseous German guy in a containment suit, the girl who sets things on fire… all of whom are part of this little organisation called the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defence, which goes around investigating paranormal stuff and saving the world from ancient demon cults.
Why it would work: Hey, Hellboy's got his own movies, so why can't Abe Sapien, Johann Krauss and Liz Sherman have their own show?
It could be a Fringe or X-Files-like show where the team investigates a Monster of The Week, and the central plot could be based on one of the long running stories in the comic books, like the Plague Of Frogs and War On Frogs sagas. And if the special effects budget goes overboard, well, the current BPRD: Hell On Earth stories do focus a lot on the agents without "enhanced talents"…
2) Gotham Central (DC)
The premise: It's not easy being a cop in Gotham City. Besides the sky-high crime rate, the detectives of the Gotham City Police Department's (GCPD) Major Crimes Unit also have to contend with an insane number of super villains like the Joker, the Riddler, the Mad Hatter, Killer Croc and so on. And if wasn't bad enough, they also have to contend with Batman swooping around and dispensing his own brand of justice.
Why it would work: Yes, we mentioned that there wouldn't be any superheroes in this list. But the idea of a dark, gritty crime procedural drama set in Gotham City, and focusing on the GCPD's Major Crimes Unit is just too awesome to let it pass. The comic series alone has a wealth of great stories that a potential TV show could draw upon (one, involving the Joker going on a murderous spree during Christmas is just brilliant), plus Christopher Nolan's Batman movies has already set the tone for a grittier and more realistic Batman universe that the show could be set in. I want this TV show to be made so badly.
3) Transmetropolitan (Vertigo)
The premise: Spider Jerusalem is an almost insane celebrity journalist in a futuristic City, who constantly sticks his middle finger up at the government. He affects change in the city by.... writing a column.
Why it would work: Eat your pen, Carrie Bradshaw. This is how a TV show about a journalist/columnist should be like. With such a thoroughly badass character whose vocabulary has more swear words than actual words at its core, this could work as a hard-hitting, no holds barred, edgy, R-rated version of The Newsroom, with Spider Jerusalem tackling a different social, political or economical issue in each episode. We could do without the scenes of him running around naked all the time though...
4) Runaways (Marvel)
The premise: A group of kids find out that their parents are actually members of a cabal of super villains, and decide to run away from home together. Along the way, they discover that they too have super powers, and decide to band together to stop their parents.
Why it would work: Yes, yes, this is yet another show with superheroes, but hey, at least the kids don't wear stupid spandex costumes.
With the comic book focusing more on character development than super powered bash-ups, this could probably work best as a light-hearted, Buffy-like teenage ensemble show (the group even has a Goth chick teenage witch called Nico as their pseudo-leader). Heck, Joss Whedon himself used to write the comic book, and with his current role in Marvel (besides directing the Avengers sequel, he is also producing the upcoming S.H.I.E.L.D TV show), here's hoping one of his upcoming projects will also include producing a Runaways TV show.
5) 100 Bullets (Vertigo)
The Premise: What would you do if a stranger came up to you at your darkest, lowest point of your life, gave you the name of the person responsible for ruining your life, then handed you a suitcase containing a gun and 100 bullets, and said that that you can do anything with the gun without fear of any consequences whatsoever?
Why it would work: Drawn in a highly stylised noir-styled, the comic book starts out with a couple of episodic stories featuring the above-mentioned high concept, but midway way through its 100 issues, connects those early stories into a sprawling crime saga that would be perfect as a gritty, ultra-violent, hardcore crime noir drama (preferably with 100 episodes).
6) Ex-Machina (Wildstorm)
The premise: Mitchell Hundred used to be the world's one and only superhero. As The Great Machine, he could communicate with machines and control them. During 9/11, The Great Machine managed to save one of the World Trade Centre towers; and after that, Hundred hung up his jetpack and managed to get himself elected as Mayor of New York.
Why it would work: Imagine what Batman would do if he became the mayor of Gotham City, or if Captain America was actually President America instead (oh, wait, that actually happened recently in the Ultimate Marvel universe). Combining political drama with superhero fantasy, Ex-Machina revolves around Hundred's efforts to run the city while struggling to deal with his superhero past. Kind of like The West Wing, but with superheroes!
7) Sandman (Vertigo)
The premise: Morpheus aka Dream is the lord of dreams and part of an immortal family of powerful beings called the Endless, together with Destiny, Death, Desire, Despair and Delirium.
Why it would work: A Sandman movie has been stuck in pre-development hell since the beginning of Destiny's book, and it is still nowhere near being green-lit. Though frankly speaking, Neil Gaiman's epic series has such a sprawling, rich storyline and so many characters that putting it all in one single movie would never do it justice. A TV show would be a better idea though – with the right producers, it could be an epic, dark serialised show that doesn't just focus on Dream, but even Death, and the rest of the Endless as well. Or it could be a Twilight Zone-like show with various stories in which one of the Endless could be involved. The possibilities are err ... Endless! 8) Hellblazer (Vertigo)
The premise: John Constantine is many things – a Scouse scoundrel, a lovable rogue, a chain-smoking conman, and above all, a powerful magician. Although he tries hard not to show it, he's got a good heart, and also an eye for getting into trouble with all sorts of demons, ghouls, and even the Devil himself.
Why it would work: Yes, he already has a Hollywood feature film, but as entertaining as it was, it just didn't capture the spirit of Constantine (plus Keanu Reeves was just too American to be Constantine).
Besides, it's John Constantine. I can't think of any other comic character I would love to see in a TV show than him. The awesome (and sometimes downright scary) supernatural situations that Constantine gets into would make for an awesome TV show. And with the character's profile set to go up further with his impending return to the main DC Universe, this would be a great time for him to get his own show. Heck, there could even be a crossover with the Sandman series!
9) DMZ (Vertigo)
The premise: America has been plunged into a second Civil War, and the island of Manhattan in New York City has been turned into a demilitarized zone, or DMZ. With the entire island completely cut off from the rest of the world, Matty Roth is the only journalist on the island, struggling to remain objective (and alive) as he reports on life in the DMZ.
Why it would work: A show about a war set in New York City? Now that's a brilliant idea. Brian Wood's richly detailed and hard-hitting story would make for an intense, story-driven serialised show. Besides, it's about time someone made a show about a war journalist, even though this is based on a fictitious war.
10) Y: The Last Man (Vertigo)
The premise: The entire male population on Earth has been wiped out by a strange phenomenon, except for Yorrick Brown and his pet monkey Ampersand. Despite being the only male human being left in a world full of women, Yorrick only wants one woman – his girlfriend Beth, who is stuck halfway around the world.
Why it would work: Seriously, all you need to make this show a hit is get a really good looking guy to play Yorrick, and fill the rest of the cast with lots of hot babes. Preferably in bikinis. Oh wait, that didn't work out for the recent Charlie's Angel's remake either.
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