Over the course of our pop culture history, there have been projects that have soared, such as Batman: The Animated Series, that seemed to hit on a good combination of timing, packaging and opportunity. In the case of B:TAS, a successful run at the box office for the Batman film franchise in the late 1980s and 1990s helped propel the series into critical and audience acclaim, and it ran for several seasons. On the other side of the coin are those projects, film or TV wise, that never got off the ground or were a one and done, lasting a handful of episodes, one season, or maybe one poor film. Perhaps due to a lack of technical advancements, bad timing or whatever else, the following projects below were doomed in their day, but perhaps could be well-received if redone today!
The Flash TV series (1990-1991) One of the best examples of the "what could have been then can be NOW" group is this John Wesley Shipp starring vehicle, which saw scientist Barry Allen transformed into the titular speedster. Over the course of the 13-episode season, the Flash took on mostly run of the mill mobsters and assorted "bad men", with a couple of memorable villains such as Trickster and Captain Cold thrown in the mix. The show never found its footing for several reasons, and money certainly was one at that time, as well as the bulky costume. The show might have new life in this time, with visual effects and costuming better and easier to produce, and Flash's presence in the current Flashpoint story line for DC doesn't hurt either. What do you say, studio heads? Go for another lap?
Batgirl and Birds of Prey TV series (1967 & 2002-2003, respectively) I lumped these together for obvious reasons. Both are centerpiece shows for one of the most popular characters of the Silver Age, Batgirl/Barbara Gordon who later became Oracle. While the Batgirl series was meant to compliment the campy Batman of the 60s, it never got off the ground. Birds of Prey was ambitious and had a dark tone to it, but muddled in metahuman mess and sloppy storytelling overall to sink a solid acting cast. Today, however, with renewed interest in the Batman franchise as a whole and a rebooted Batgirl in Barbara Gordon this fall, could one of these projects perhaps take flight (and avoid an embarrassing new Wonder Woman like fall from grace?) These characters are too rich and vital to let fall by the wayside.
Spider-Woman, animated series (1979-1980) Animation seems like one of the biggest graveyards of ambitious projects that "could have been", and for whatever reason several B and C list (at the time) comic book characters have been tried as a cartoon, but some are worth a second look. Jessica Drew, Spider-Woman, deserves to be in that number. In 1979, the 16-episode animated series was kooky and demeaned the dark heroine with stories about pyramids, human flies and movie plot death traps. Spider-Woman's significant relevance in the Marvel universe of today versus the early 80s, given her "role" in Secret Invasion and her place on the Avengers now, is stronger and richer. Another animated series could be terrific, and I've never kept my love for Jess a secret.
Spider-Man TV series (1981-1982) Speaking of arachnids in the news, Spider-Man has been no stranger to the TV, primarily in animated form, and his film franchise is a massive hit, but the early Spider-Man live action series lacked imagination, spark and solid visual effects. Given today's methods, another live-action series that focuses on the adventures of the webbed wall crawler is feasible, and his popularity is certainly high. The same thing seemed to plague this early 80s adaptation as others, a lack of interesting villains and gimmicks that do a disservice to the character. Today, more popularity and better knowledge of Spidey's rogues could help a new series get off the ground!
Catwoman film (2004) What COULDN'T be better than this "take" on a DC Comics legend? After the celebrated performance of Michelle Pfeiffer in Batman Returns, the character of the sometime heroine, full-time thief enjoyed a renaissance, with her appearance in Batman: The Animated Series reflecting that new popularity. Cut to this 2004 fiasco that resembled the character in name and cat-like mask only. A good number of Batman's villains have a rich and complex origin, but Catwoman's story is certainly one that is at least realistic, and it would easily translate into a complex and knotty tale of morals and action. Maybe if Anne Hathaway's turn in The Dark Knight Rises is stellar, this could be a possibility down the line. From what we're hearing, she could be on that track!
So what other crash and burn projects could be resurrected today? Are there some that you feel strongly about?
*We exempted properties such as Superman, Captain America, Fantastic Four, Daredevil , as they are already in production, finished, or being discussed for a reboot!