Upfronts for the 4 and a Half Networks has concluded and given us a deluge of Fall 2014 television info that we all will need more time to absorb and overblog about later.
But I must give some quick reactions to the first trend to catch my eye: the glorious plethora of comic book adaptations for television that gives us a comic book show to watch every night of the week (except Thursday which given that night gives the double blow of Thursday Night Football AND Scandal is a good night to avoid programming your gems).
The line-up is as follows:
FOX’s Gotham, Monday @ 8PM EST
Thoughts: Of course, I’m in. Of the holy trinity of DC Comics, Batman just edges out Big Blue for my devotion because for all his Billionaire Bastardicty, Bruce Wayne is THE MAN. Brains and determination over brawn mixed with obsessive compulsion just this side of insanity. Bruce Wayne is the angstiest, most complex, brooding jerk, badass woobie you can find and I adore him. I love all that Batman brings with his carefully crafted Batfamily and ruthless cabal of rogues. Gotham City has always been a character in its own right throughout Batman’s crusade, at once his greatest enemy and his reason for living so I am pumped to explore the city’s life pre-Batman’s coming out party. We’ve got heroes in the form of the amazingly well casted Ben MacKenzie as Det. Jim Gordon and Donal Logue (looking like he stepped straight out of Batman: The Animated Series) as Det. Bullock. We have more than a smattering of Batman’s future enemies in the form of The Penguin, Catwoman, Riddler, and Poison Ivy before they took on their criminal personas.
And we have the man himself as the boy he was stunted to always emotionally be, young Bruce Wayne fresh off the tragedy that shaped the rest of his life.
I’m liking what I’m seeing in this trailer. Gotham is at the precipice of its fall. Cops and Robbers are primed to battle for her soul. Bruce Wayne is fumbling to find his wings to fly. And Bruno Heller, creator of Rome and The Mentalist, is at the helm? There will be blood and it will be awesome.
The CW’s Flash, Tuesday @ 8PM EST
First Thoughts: (Blubbering in a high pitched voice) This show is gonna be so awesome!
Second (more coherent) Thoughts: When you want a guest star (Barry Allen) to steal Oliver Queen/Arrow’s Girl Friday (Felicity) to his own show (despite your shipping Oliver and Felicity in a major way) AND start giving Oliver the side eye for being such a meanie to said guest star, you know you’re in love.
Barry Allen owned my heart after his debut episode in season 2 of Arrow, ‘The Scientist’ on Arrow. Charming, impish, earnest, and intelligent, Grant Gustin’s Barry made me appreciate once again the non-growling, skulking hero- an ordinary guy who despite his tragic past focuses on the positive, on being curious and helpful. I’m not as familiar with Barry’s story as Clark Kent’s or Bruce Wayne’s but after meeting Barry Allen, I want to know. In Barry’s two brief appearances, you grew to know and like him and his feel for his plight so that when he is struck by lightning at the end of his final Arrow episode ‘Three Ghosts’ you’re as much worried about him as you are excited to see what new chapter has begun in his life.
I definitely want Barry and The Flash to stand on its own two feet but I will never hate on Arrow/Flash crossovers where they help each other out. What I love about Barry and Oliver’s interactions was that even in the face of Oliver’s abrupt annoyance, Barry remained awed, inspired, and eager to help all the way through. The teaser and trailer pretty much sets up the differences between these two heroes: Barry is light to Oliver’s dark but the two can still co-exist and do so happily. And did you notice that smirk on Ollie’s face in the ‘Show Off’ trailer? Yeah, he’s enjoying tweaking Barry, but you also sense that Oliver is enjoying playing the grumpy but guiding big brother to Barry’s big hearted, newbie, well intentioned little brother. Expanding the Arrow-verse to include such an adorkable, opposite in temperament from Oliver, hero like Barry Allen is a brave, brilliant move. Ratings willing, Barry Allen will have a long healthy run on The CW. Now please excuse me as I go back to wiping away my #nerdtearsof joy and watch these clips a few dozen more times.
Marvel’s Agent Carter, Tuesday (Midseason) @ 9PM EST
Marvel’s Agent Carter is to debut midseason as the bridge between the Winter Finale and Spring Premiere of Marvel’s Agents of Shield. Right now all we know is that Peggy Carter will get to play spy games in the 1940s with Howard Stark as well as be founder of what will become SHIELD. Despite my ‘She’s alright’ assessment of Peggy in Captain America: The First Avenger I’m intrigued with getting more on her character and exploring the mix of spies and superheroes and the roots of SHIELD. Where Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD floundered (ensemble casts take a while to work out the kinks) I feel Agent Carter being focused on just the woman herself gives it the advantage of knowing what it wants and needs to be right out of the gate. Here’s hoping that Peggy rights the Marvel television enterprise ship to sail more strongly and herald the coming of more solo Marvel (non Netflix) television ventures.
Constantine, Friday @ 10PM EST
Thoughts: I could like this show. It’s got a snarky, exasperated, cocky Brit who is deep into the world of the supernatural; a glowering angel who could be friend or foe; and a newbie who is in over her head and in need of guidance. There’s humor and horror and gore and hints of more serious grimness lurking. In appears in line with the comics from my few brushes with the Hellblazer and Constantine comics and so I remain in ‘Wait and See’ mode until I get my hands on the pilot to dig in and see if Constantine is the next Grimm (an enjoyable yarn) or Bionic Woman.
Another comic book adaptation to debut (midseason) is The CW’s iZombie. In short a zombie pre-med student works with authorities to solve the crimes of the brains of the dead bodies (she didn’t kill them; someone else did) that she eats. Zombies, Rob Thomas (creator of Veronica Mars, not the equally awesome lead singer of Matchbox Twenty, although I love them both equally) as the showrunner and a cast list includes David Anders (Sark from Alias; Whale from Once Upon A Time). That’s just enough cred to get me to sample it whenever it lurches onto screen in the Winter/Spring.
It’s a good time to be a television geek who loves comic books. Good time, indeed.