Archive for the ‘Pilot Lite’ Category

It seems like network television has a fair amount of difficulty adapting comic books to television at the moment. Sure, there are notable exceptions (Fox, somehow, has two bona fide hits with Gotham and Lucifer) but by and large, if you want a comic adapted successfully, you have to look to The CW. Just a few months ago, Black Lightning was moved to The CW before production even started! NBC already had one failed adaptation under its belt (pour one out for Constantine, mates) when it went to series with Powerless, a workplace comedy set in the DC Universe.

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Netflix continues to push forward with assembling its own team of Marvel heroes, The Defenders. Two years ago (seriously? It’s been that long?) when Daredevil premiered, there were equal parts anticipation and trepidation in seeing this new iteration of empowered heroes brought to the small screen. In the years since, we’ve had entries from the aforementioned Devil of Hell’s Kitchen as well as Jessica Jones and Luke Cage. Now, the final Defender has been brought to life in the form of Danny Rand, the defender of K’un Lun and the wielder of the Iron Fist.
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The Tick is a character who has been around since the mid 80’s. But I’d be willing to bet that there is a good number of fans of his who didn’t realize that he was a comic book character for a long time (or maybe ever). I know my first encounter with the character had nothing to do with comics. However, completist that I am, once I discovered his black and white origins, I quickly went to the source and voraciously consumed as much of his comic series as my little eyes could take.
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This television season saw some great strides in comics on TV, but also a bit of stumbling. New series, for the most part, premiered strong while many of the returning shows seemed to have a bit of trouble maintaining their footing. Without going into it too much, here’s my ranking for this year’s comic book television shows: (more…)

Preacher has spent a longer amount of time being adapted than it has as an actual, ongoing comic series. Running for 66 issues (plus a few specials) the series is a go-to for people as an example of the best of the medium. Along with Starman, it’s a seminal book of the 90’s and helped to shape and define the culture of comics at that time. Created by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon, it’s one of the most insanely violent, blasphemous, shocking, and funny comic series to ever exist. That’s made all the more interesting by how popular it has become. There are people of all walks of life who absolutely love this book. As such, it’s with no small amount of trepidation that many have viewed any attempt at adaptation.
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Who would’ve thought a little cable channel known for teen melodrama would one day be on the cutting edge of comic book television? I know I talk a lot about my love for their Televisual DC Universe (yes, I’m still looking for an alternative to “Arrow-verse”) but it really can’t be stressed enough just what a big deal it is. They single-handedly changed the landscape of TV with one little show about a dude in green who shoots people with arrows. Compare what most channels offered in 2012 to right now and see just how many comic-based shows cropped up in Arrow‘s wake. And, if you want to take it back even further, Arrow was ostensibly a spinoff of Smallville. And even though that show had plenty of issues, it showed that this channel (and its precursor, The WB) have seen something worthwhile in comic adaptations since 2001. Anyway, I find it appropriate to discuss the history that made Legends of Tomorrow, the newest in the CWDCU (I’ll get there eventually, I swear) since it’s a series about traveling to the past in an effort to correct the future.
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Back in the 80’s, DC Comics were going through a period of constant creative shake-ups. They re-booted their entire universe with Crisis on Infinite Earths, deconstructed what it means to be a superhero with Watchmen, And breathed dark new life into Batman with Year One and Dark Knight Returns. They also re-imagined a long stagnant character, cut away everything but the name, and turned it into one of the greatest stories to ever be committed to the page. Neil Gaiman took Sandman from a 40’s pulp-style hero and re-sculpted the title into an existential trip through human consciousness and the history of myth. It’s a series with almost no faults and stands as a classic even amongst a decade that seemed to churn out classic comics weekly. Within that series, Dream of The Endless, the protagonist, traveled to many realms of legend. Early on, he made his way through Hell and held court with its ruler, Lucifer Morningstar.
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Comic-based television shows have become big business lately. As mentioned previously, more shows are pulling from comics, and this trend doesn’t seem to be slowing. With that in mind, it’s easy to dismiss any number of shows premiering this year as the also-ran cash-grab to the first wave of this new phenomenon. And while there may be some cynical viewers who do just that, I think, if anything, this second wave of series would be more likely to out-perform what came before simply because they have the gift of hindsight. And if there’s ever been a premiere that has benefitted from hindsight, it’s Supergirl.
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In 2003, when the comic series The Walking Dead began, there was little to suggest that it’d become the marketing behemoth that it is now. The book was well received and popular despite the fact that this was still the early days of the zombie pop culture convergence that’s been going strong for the last decade. While the series was always successful, its sustained popularity and new-readership these days is largely thanks to the fact that the comic was turned into a television series by AMC in 2010. The show has been running for five seasons (with a sixth on the way as I type this) and has lead to all manor of merchandising, up to and including a spin-off series.
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