Will comic book adaptations become network TV superheroes when they start swooping in this fall?
After the success of “The Walking Dead” and “Arrow,” it should come as no surprise that every major TV network has picked up a fall TV series based on a comic book. Here’s a look at the new shows featuring superheroes, spies, and supernatural characters.
Mondays at 8 p.m. on FOX
Prequels run the risk of being boring because we already know where the story is going. This is why it’s imperative that they’re extremely well-executed, and it’s also important that they shed new light on the lives of beloved characters. Luckily, this FOX series meets both criteria in its gritty trailer.
“Gotham” is another chapter in the Dark Knight legend, but the hero here is the Batman’s cape-free ally, Commissioner James Gordon (Ben McKenzie). It follows young Jim as the rookie cop works to keep Gotham City safe from the criminals who will someday adopt some familiar alter egos.
According to showrunner Bruno Heller, the prequel series will have Gordon investigating the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents. Bruce (David Mazouz) is just a boy; Alfred (Sean Pertwee) is a tough ex-marine charged with caring for the teen; and the Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) is an underling of a glamorous gangster named Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith). We’ll also meet a young Catwoman (Camren Bicondova) and learn the origins of the Riddler (Cory Michael Smith), Poison Ivy (Clare Foley), and the Joker. As far as the good guys go, Donal Logue plays Gordon’s partner, Harvey Bullock. Heller also teased that some of Batman’s future enemies start out as good guys.
2. “The Flash”
Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on The CW
The CW is hoping that “Arrow” viewers will want to learn more about the fleet-footed forensic investigator capable of outrunning one of Oliver Queen’s deadly projectiles. Luckily, it seems very likely that this spinoff about the super-speedy superhero will have a larger lifespan than its 1990 predecessor. Interestingly, the man who rocked the red mask in 1990, John Wesley Shipp, has scored a role as the new Flash’s father in The CW’s take on the superhero’s story.
Grant Gustin is the endearingly dorky new guy hiding behind Barry Allen’s scarlet mantle. The Oliver Queen fanboy was introduced on “Arrow,” and viewers already know that he got into CSI’ing because he wants to free his falsely imprisoned father. However, he’s going to have a few distractions now – the particle accelerator explosion that gave the Flash his super speed also created a few supervillains with their own mysterious powers.
The Flash gets an inspiring pep talk from the Arrow in the show’s trailer. We also learn that lightning can give you abs and get to witness an epic tornado battle. The series looks just as good as any successful superhero movie, so it’s definitely worth checking out.
Fridays at 10 p.m. on NBC
Picking up this series was very risky move – the Keanu Reeves movie of the same name wasn’t well-received by many fans of the “Hellblazer” comics on which it was based. However, NBC is at least trying to right one wrong by making John Constantine a blonde Brit, and who can blame the network for having a go at a show about a demon hunter after the success of “Supernatural?”
Matt Ryan is a natural as the series’ acerbic anti-hero, a man whose soul has already been damned to hell. The occult detective isn’t doing too much with his life when demons start terrorizing Liv (Lucy Griffiths), the daughter of an old pal. However, her terrifying visions get him back in the demon-exorcising game. After filling Liv in on why she’s seeing terrifying things like hellish holes in the ground and black liquid seeping from her granny’s eyes, they team up to fight an “ancient evil” that has arisen.
The trailer is pretty brutal – it features a flock of flying souls, a fire tornado, a horned beast, a wall of bugs, and an electrical wire impaling. It looks deliciously dark, and Ryan is devilishly dashing. It’s tough to tell if the storyline will be interesting, but “Constantine” definitely isn’t lacking personality and visual appeal.
Midseason on The CW
This is a thinking woman’s “The Walking Dead” – the undead heroine can actually use her brain. Unfortunately, she has to eat other people’s skull organs to avoid turning into a monster.
Rose McIver made a precious pixie when she played Tinker Bell in “Once Upon a Time,” but she’s traded her glowing fairy skin for a sickly pallor. Rose’s down-and-out character Liv tries to leave her old life behind when she gets zombified. She takes a job at a Seattle coroner’s office to get the nutrients she needs without having to kill anyone, but eating the brains of murder victims with chopsticks has a disturbing side effect – she inherits some of her memories. This gives her life new purpose as she teams up with a detective to solve their murders.
The zombie comedy/crime procedural comes from the brain of “Veronica Mars” creator Rob Thomas, so hopefully zombies live just as long as vampires do on The CW.
5. “Agent Carter”
Midseason on ABC
Even though “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D” is struggling, ABC isn’t giving up on the people who get stuck on the sidelines while the superheroes get all the glory for saving the world.
Here “Captain America” star Hayley Atwell reprises her role as the Cap’s lost love, Peggy Carter. Because she’s a woman living in the 1940s, Peggy is stuck doing administrative work for the Strategic Scientific Reserve (SSR). However, Howard Stark realizes that she’s one badass babe, so she gets to utilize her smarts, setting out on secret missions. Viewers will also see Peggy dealing with the loss of the love of her life. We’ll have to wait until midseason to meet both of them, but how great is it that we’re finally getting some comic book TV series with female protagonists?
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