News is erupting about upcoming comic television series. No, I’m not talking about this season’s Gotham, Arrow, The Flash, iZombie and Constantine. I’m talking about two that are in development: Supergirl and Titans.
CBS is developing this show based on the comic. Kara is Superman’s cousin, who also escaped Krypton before it blew up. She has every power Superman has, but is just younger. Whether this will all hold true for the small screen series is yet to be seen. We can all speculate that it will be taken from the famous female hero. It’s not someone or some series just using the name. It will be from the comics. But, it doesn’t sound like Superman will be around in the series.
My thought: Do the female version of the Superman story. Superman and Clark Kent have been popular for decades. He’s hard to beat, yes. But, why not do an alternate tale where Kara is the surviving member of Krypton. Basically, what if it was Kara Zor El and not Kal El that survived Krypton? I think it would be interesting to do the classic Superman story from a female perspective. If it’s Supergirl alongside Superman it’s not going to be as interesting.
Titans is a series that is being developed by TNT. It’s inspiration is the teen team of heroes that made Nightwing popular. In comics, Teen Titans was a team that started off with sidekicks of main super heroes. Robin led the team of Kid Flash, Wonder Girl, and Aqualad. As the comic and team got popular, it evolved. Robin left the shadow of Batman and became Nightwing. Wonder Girl’s powers evolved and she became a bit more powerful than Wonder Woman, and eventually a goddess. Kid Flash left the team and took over the mantle of The Flash. Others joined the team, like Beast Boy and Cyborg, who are fairly mainstream heroes in both small and big screen.
One of the great things about the comic and its different incarnations was how groundbreaking it was at times. What helped tip the scale for Dick Grayson to become Nightwing was a storyline called the Judas Contract in which a traitor was found to be on the team, and the infamous Slade Wilson, AKA Deathstroke, hunted the team. If Slade Wilson sounds familiar he was the featured villain in the second season of Arrow.
The idea of a group of powered teen heroes have launched some already popular media. A cartoon series of Teen Titans aired on Cartoon Network, and was more campy than dramatic. Young Justice, though based on a comic series of the same name, has its roots in Teen Titans. The comic and television editions have been a great venue for a twist on teen drama.
What we do know for the series being developed is that Nightwing will be an anchor character. With that, it seems like it’s taking the New Teen Titans route. Right now, there’s no sign of this being standalone from the rest of the DC universe. Like, will there be references of Batman from Nightwing? Will these heroes be sidekicks to the more adult supers? Nothing to tell yet.
I’m excited about the show. Yes, there’s been many takes on teen super heroes having to combat high school and saving the world. But, it’s all been very comedic and not really addressing what can happen to this group. The comics really played on teen angst, emotions, and tragedies. And, I don’t mean tragedies of “My boyfriend broke up with me!” I mean tragedies like a team member dying in battle. That’s hard stuff to deal with as a teen! Where I’m not for people dying, I do hope that the show takes a dramatic look at teen’s lives in the form of them having powers.
We are not done talking about shows yet! With the announcements of these shows being developed, a question comes up: Is television getting over saturated with comic based programming? Already there are 6 live action shows (including Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), and Netflix will have a few new Marvel shows coming up. And this is all not including any cartoons that are on the air featuring DC and Marvel characters.
Movies are one-shots (for the most part). You get the full story in one sitting. Yes, you can watch them again and again, but there’s space in between each film so that you can anticipate the next one. If one episode is bad, you may never return to the show again, whereas if one film is bad you may let your taste subside to watch the next one.
Will having so many super hero shows make it seem un-original when they’re all telling similar tales at once? I’ve been a longtime comic fan and reader, and I do find some pretty original stories. But, TV has seemed to stick with similar tales within the same genre of shows. Heck, even the same franchises. I would sometimes see very similar stories in different Star Trek shows. It wouldn’t be very often, but some seemed recycled. Will these shows function the same?
So far, I think we have reached the point of every show looking the same. But, if producers want to jump on the bandwagon we could see some ideas that break the huge popularity of comic characters.
But, what do you think?