Comic Adaptation: Superhero TV Edition

There’s a new trend that has been sweeping network cable recently. Comics. Well, comic book adaptation to be exact. Now don’t get me wrong, there have been comic book adaptations on TV for years so the concept is nothing new. In fact, we tend to have a somewhat steady stream of one or two adaptations almost at all times. However, in recent years and particularly starting this fall, the number of these shows is going to skyrocket. CW alone is having The Flash and iZombie go to pilot, bringing the channel’s total comic adaptations on air to three. That’s not even including any other channels jumping on this bandwagon. Now that comic adaptations are more prevalent, but let’s focus just on those of the superhero variety.

Coulson's team

The team goes for Coulson

First Superhero Movies, Now TV
Superheros and movies go together like peanut butter and jelly. There’s something about the big screen and the massive feats that these heroes are accomplishing playing out there. But not all superhero stories are assive. In fact, some of the best stories couldn’t be successfully condensed into a two hour movie. That’s where the TV show model comes in handy. With a TV show you get to play out longer stries and also add in new ones without having to wait so long in between. A TV show has roughly 13-22 hours to tell it’s story.

Long Form
The ability to tell a story that is ever evolving is extremely appealing. With movies, and in a way books, you get a story that has a beginning, middle, and end. Things tend to be tied up and the story is what it is. Even if the story is open enough to continue it isn’t serialized. TVs and comics are very serialized. Each installation fills in more pieces and is often part of it’s own mini story or part of a larger arching story. In many ways, that is why comic stories are very well suited for TV.

Sara Lance

Sara Lance

Current Shows
One of the biggest shows of the past ten years was Smallville which ran for ten years before it reached it’s finale. If Smallville had been a failure, I don’t think we would be seeing this huge surge of comics in mainstream media. Smallville was a way for the public to tune in to see one of America’s favorite heroes. CW didn’t wait long before they decided they wanted to keep their hand in the superhero market and they began producing Arrow. Arrow, following the Green Arrow hero as he fully came into his own. Arrow has proved itself as solid TV programming, while integrating and pleasing comic fans. This year we were also brought Agents of SHIELD on ABC. While the show started with a bang and then began to falter, it’s finally finding it’s footing. As with all shows, Agents of SHIELD needed to find it’s groove. It also had to contend with melding into the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe and also integrating characters from the comics. Currently the superhero shoes we have are solid, but they aren’t too numerous, thus we don’t yet feel over saturated.

The Flash

The Flash

Upcoming Shows
Starting this fall we are going to start getting a new batch of superhero shows to tune in to. The Flash is very likely to make it from pilot to season order, with Barry Allen already having been introduced on Arrow. The Flash will follow Barry as he comes into his new power. Gotham is another show that will be coming to Fox this fall in a straight to series order. This will follow a young Bruce Wayne in Gotham as the villains we come to love find their footing and Bruce copes with the loss of his parents. The show was initially billed as more of a James Gordon show, but it’s been slowly revealed that isn’t the case. 2015 will also see the beginning of Marvel’s TV shows on Netflix, starting with Daredevil. Marvel signed a deal with Netflix for four 13 episode series (Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and Jessica Jones) which will culminate in a Defenders mini-series.

Do you enjoy superheros on TV? Or do you prefer them in movies? Which is your current favorite/ or most anticipated superhero show?

One thought on “Comic Adaptation: Superhero TV Edition

  1. Pingback: Adapting Comics to TV | So, I pondered...

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