The comic book industry seems hellbent on making couch potatoes out of its fanbase. With television as the next great frontier in comic book adaptations, almost every publisher is rushing to make their series the next prime-time hit. And while the cineplex will be dominated with projects almost exclusively by DC and Marvel’s superheroes, television will enjoy some diversity from the likes of Image and Vertigo.
With so many new shows to choose from, which only add to the numerous ones already on air, even your DVR could be forgiven for feeling overwhelmed. Fortunately for you, we’ve parsed through the deluge of announced comic book series and picked the ones that will glue us to our living rooms. Fresh air is overrated anyway.
The Walking Dead Spinoff
The Walking Dead has been television gold thus far, so thought of another AMC-produced series in Robert Kirkman’s zombie apocalypse leaves us drooling (kind of like zombies). While the existing Walking Dead series has solely focused on Rick Grimes’ group in the Southeastern United States, the spinoff series promises to explore how the West Coast has handled the Walker outbreak. Viewers have longed for more information on the zombie apocalypse.
As much as we love Rick and his gang, we can’t wait to stretch our legs and see what else is out there.
AMC nailed it with The Walking Dead, but will their follow-up act, Preacher, reach similar levels? We certainly hope so, as the cable provider moves towards producing a pilot for Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s acclaimed Vertigo series. While Seth Rogen’s role as the series’ developer and pilot’s co-director was enough to intrigue us, we’re really sold on Garth Ennis’ official seal of approval. In a statement for AMC, Ennis not only said that he has full faith in AMC’s Preacher plans, but also that a televised adaptation “gives Preacher an opportunity to be seen in its best possible medium.” Those are words that one doesn’t toss lightly. If Ennis is in, we’re definitely in.
TNT’s Titans could add some real diversity in the ever-crowded comic book television landscape by giving fans the first super-powered teen drama. But we’re not looking for Dawson’s Creek with capes. Teen Titans could really show what it’s like to be a fledgling superhero that people foolishly underestimate, given their age. And while the Titans battle Trigon and HIVE, they’d also have meaty drama of discovering their own identity as individual members of the world. The mere fact that Nightwing, and not Robin, will appear in the series suggests that these Titans will skew towards the older side, in the vein of Marv Wolfman and George Perez’s New Teen Titans, arguably the best interpretation the teens have had. If the show follows that run’s cues, and focuses on the interpersonal relationships as much as the adventuring, then we’ll surely have a smash hit on our hands. It also doesn’t hurt that this will be DC’s first series to go on cable, where it will have more freedom to do as it pleases than it would on a Network.
And now we may get two televised versions of Deathstroke. How awesome is that?
Unshackled from the constraints of Network television, we're beyond excited to see what Marvel TV can do in the unregulated waters of Netflix. Their first true test will be Daredevil, which is promised to drop in the first half of 2015. Daredevil is the source for some of Marvel’s most critically-praised storylines and creative runs, giving this series great material to mine. From what we’ve heard so far, the series will mostly draw from Frank Miller and John Romita Jr.’s “Man Without Fear,” a “Year One” style story for Daredevil. Since Miller is one of the best Daredevil writers in the character’s history, we’re more than comfortable with that.
Daredevil will also introduce a more grounded, street-wise look at the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We’ve seen gods, superheroes, and aliens, from their perspective, so we’re more than ready to experience the Marvel Universe through the eyes of a mortal.
AKA Jessica Jones
A private-eye superhero series? Count us in. Alias, the Jessica Jones-starring comic book that this series will follow, was one of the best comics of the last decade, making us extremely eager to see similar levels of quality on the small screen. We’re confidant that the dark, but alluring Krysten Ritter will make for a perfect Jessica Jones: Someone who’s a little rough around the edges, but ultimately has a good heart. It will also be interesting to see a comic book show tackle a superhero who’s put costumed adventuring in their rearview mirror. That fresh perspective on super heroics should make for an introspective show that’s just as concerned with the character’s internal battles as it is with the external ones.
With Mike Colter officially cast as Luke Cage, Marvel’s third Netflix original series is starting to take shape. While Marvel Studio’s Black Panther will have the honor of being the first African-American-led comic book movie, Cage will diversify the television landscape as its first African American comic hero. Regardless, we’re still excited to see one of Marvel’s toughest heroes pound the New York City pavement. As a “hero for hire,” we’re hoping that Luke Cage dives into the moral complexities of being a for-profit superhero, and where Cage will draw line between moneymaker and hero.
With Cage making his debut in next year’s AKA Jessica Jones series, we’re hoping that the proper Luke Cage series can hit the ground running and forgo the origin story typically told in premiere seasons.
It’s about time that DC Entertainment gives their Superman franchise another go in the television arena. But instead of Clark Kent, DC is opting for his cousin, Supergirl. Thankfully, this series will sidestep the usual origin or prequel routine and introduce Kara Zor-El as a 24 year-old who’s ready to save the world with her Kryptonian powers. To say that we’ve wanted a Superman series that actually embraces the “super” side of the franchise is an understatement. We can’t wait to see Supergirl utilize all of her powers on the small screen as she takes a full-fledged Hero’s Journey. CBS, who is picking up the series, has faith in the project by bypassing the development and pilot stages for a full series commitment. But what really has us sold is Producer Greg Berlanti’s involvement. Berlanti, one of the main muscles behind Arrow and The Flash, has proven that he knows how to make comic book shows work on network television. And if Berlanti’s involved, there stands a small chance that Supergirl just might cross into the world of Flash and Arrow.
Supergirl isn’t the only Superman property on DC’s radar. Krypton, currently in development at SyFy, would explore the days of Superman’s home planet before its destruction. With David Goyer—of Constantine, Man of Steel, and The Dark Knight trilogy fame—attached to executive produce, we’re expecting another winner of a prequel series to walk alongside Gotham. We’re intrigued by the series’ decision to focus on Superman’s grandfather, and his mission to restore the House of El’s honor. The direction should give the series plenty of surprises while adding new and unexpected folds into the Superman mythology. With the clock set so far back, we’re excited to see a look at Krypton that isn’t predicated on its imminent demise. As long as Krypton embraces its distance from the usual Superman tropes, and simply operates as fun, new planet for viewers to explore, it should make for a very cool show about beings from another planet.
We still know nothing about this project, other than that it will follow Luke Cage on Netflix’s slate of Marvel Universe films. With Daredevil and AKA Jessica Jones, Netflix’s first two projects, slated for next year, it’s likely that we won’t see the project until 2016. But that doesn’t dampen our excitement for Danny Rand, Marvel’s resident Kung-Fu master. While we’re expecting a street-smart karate series with the same New York City grit that Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage will have, we’re hopeful that Iron Fist will distinguish itself by exploring the mystical realms of Iron Fist’s origins too. We want visits to the magical city of K’un-Lun. We want to see 18th-century Iron Fists. Heck, we even want to see Shou-Lao the Undying dragon, the source of Iron Fist’s powers. The more Iron Fist can do to carve its own niche in the rapidly growing Marvel cinematic universe, the better.
A series about an eternally-possessed man has the markings of great comic book television all over it. Another Robert Kirkman adaptation, Outcast delves into the land of the supernatural, and all the nasty demons that live inside it. We’re hoping for a “Constantine on steroids” approach with this one, as the series embraces the seedy darkness that lingers within the show’s main character Kyle Barnes. The fact that the show will air on Cinemax, a premium cable provider that answers to little regulation, only furthers that expectation. And with Kirkman coming aboard to executive produce, Outcast should be every bit as faithful to its source material’s spirit as The Walking Dead.
So which shows are you most excited to see? Let us know below!