With a new season of The Boys coming and Lord of the Rings returning to production, we are all reminded that Amazon seems to be determined to overtake Netflix as the premium destination for streaming. The way they want to do it (besides just being Amazon, and also having rentals which Netflix doesn't) is, in part, by taking huge cultural touchstones like Lord of the Rings, Jack Reacher, and Good Omens, and turning them into big-budget, highly-ambitious TV megaprojects. But what's next? Well, it's always fun to guess. SO we've thought a bit about it, and put together a list.
Below, you can check out a list of properties that are due for a live-action revival -- and in many cases, they're things that would be cost prohibitive for anybody without deep pockets and big ambition to do. Not all of them are hard-core "genre" in terms of being comics, science fiction, and fantasy -- some are just stories with huge mass appeal and fully developed worlds that seem like they could support a TV series for a few good years.
Check 'em out, and let us know what you think. What did we miss? Which of these would you never have thought of? Hit us up in the comments, or tweet at @comicbook or @russburlingame!
First, Fletch has been in and out of development, often with some promising names attached, so many times that it's hard to have confidence that it will actually ahppen, just because somebody has a plan.
Second, the general public's understanding of the original book series is basically nil, with most people associating Gregory McDonald's snarky but serious mysteries with Chevy Chase's beloved film -- which is way more comedic, and with the comedy played way more broad, than any of the books ever got. That means that, like with Jack Ryan, it's entirely possible that a movie that hews closer to the books and feels less like a remake of a well-loved adaptation might fail, opening the door for somebody to "rescue" the brand in the serialized format.
So all of that said, why is Fletch a great candidate for a TV show?
First of all, each novel is complex enough, with a dense enough mystery and likable enough characters, to make for an entire (10-13 episodes) season of television on its own. Producers would want to make changes for the format, but a model for how those changes could be handled would be something like True Blood, which essentially adapted one book per season (ish), with changes made to characters, stories, and other elements that changed the end result but not the general tone of the work. The series has 11 books, including two that feature Jack, Fletch's illegitimate son whom he first met as an adult. Building in the idea that Jack could be a character later on is an intriguing notion because it would mean that someone like Jon Hamm, who is much older than Fletch was in the early books in the series, could reasonably be Fletch since they would want someone old enough to have a 20ish-year-old son.prevnext
The Savage Dragon
One of the longest-running comics from Image Comics and one of a truly tiny number of American comics that have featured the work of a single creator for over 200 issues, Savage Dragon is an ever-evolving series, with elements of police procedurals, superhero comics, soap operas, teen sex comedies, and more over the course of its long life. Robert Kirkman, creator of The Walking Dead has praised it as one of the greatest achievemets in comic book history. And it has the same kind of "leave nothing on the table" vibe that makes The Boys and The Walking Dead such big successes. This one feels like an obvious choice, provided they can figure out a way to make Dragon look good onscreen.prevnext
The Wizard of Oz
There's hardly a better known piece of IP in the Western world than L. Frank Baum's Wizard of Oz, but most people really only know one or maybe two stories, but there were actually twenty Oz books written over 20 years, and most of that content has never made its way into popular culture since the original black and white film serials.
The folks behind projects like Good Omens and the forthcoming Lord of the Rings show seem like ideal partners for a sweeping, family-friendly fantasy epic set in the world of Oz.prevnext
Strangers in Paradise
One of the best long-running American comics ever made, has nothign to do with superheroes or the supernatural. Terry Moore's Strangers in Paradise has had a long series of false-starts in terms of getting off the ground for live-action adaptations. The latest, a planned feature film from director Angela Robinson, seems to be stuck in limbo.
But let's bring Robinson, and SiP, over to Amazon, where they can do it as a series, allowing some of the mysteries and other slow-burn elements to play out more or less as they did in print. Strangers in Paradise is perfect for the format, and Robinson -- who has worked as a writer and producer on shows like The L Word, True Blood, and How to Get Away With Murder, seems like a perfect choice to bring it.prevnext
If there's a TV show that feels due for a reboot right now, it's Quantum Leap. Scott Bakula's lovable '80s time-travel adventure has fed into the tone and spirit of projects like Chuck and DC's Legends of Tomorrow for years, and with time-travel itself being increasingly normalized as a storytelling device in mainstream fiction, Quantum Leap (being one of the most recognizable names in that genre in terms of American television) certainly feels like an obvious place to look.prevnext
The Legend of Zelda
Again, looking to the Lord of the Rings comparison: this is a property that would be incredibly hard to do well, but if you pull it off, the upside is basically limitless. Thirty years of gamers love this franchise, and it has been around long enough, and handled by enough creative people, to have a depth of lore that is rarely matched.prevnext
The Man With No Name
One of the most beloved and enduring antiheroes in cinematic history is Clint Eastwood's Man With No Name. After appearing in A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, the character has often been imitated -- and certainly contributed a lot of his spirit to characters like Jonah Hex.
If anybody wants to try a Western series that has the broad appeal of Deadwood without having to go as dark and completely alienating more conservative viewers, finding stories to associate with this guy might work beautifully.prevnext
With The Wizard of Oz, we talked about the idea of a more family-friendly fantasy show that would be largely devoid of the kind of PG-13 action that dominates most science fiction and fantasy, especially on TV. Here is another example of that in the form of a great, underrated comic book from the '90s.
Tellos, which takes place in a fanciful world and feels a little bit like swords-and-sorcery-meets-Calvin & Hobbes, was the creation of Todd Dezago, who helped shape the direction of SPider-Man and Young Justice in the '90s, and legendary artist Mike Wieringo. It could be a visually stunning and narratively compelling series -- and if they started with just the Dezago/Wieringo stuff rather than getting into the work that Todd did with other artists, they could limit the series to 2 seasons if they wanted, then assess whether more was worth it
Also: That Ringworld series they're developing is going to be a good place to develop CG tiger-man technology.prevnext
Tom Sawyer and Huckleberrry Finn
The world of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, an early example of disparate novels with a shared continuity, feels like it has the potential to be great television. Little has been explored about the time in between the two stories, and one would assume you could credibly include other aspects of Twain's novels and short stories in the "world" if you were so inclined.prevnext
In a world where The Boys -- a niche comic about superheroes who are corrupt and abuse their power, and the shady "good" guys who hunt them -- can be a massive hit, it's clear that the general public has become genre-savvy when it comes to superheroes. In Black (from writer by Kwanza Osajyefo and featuring artistic contributions from Jamal Igle, Robin Riggs, Tim Smith III, Derwin Roberson), superheroes are real -- but only people of color get powers. And that has the potential to upset the status quo in a profound way, so the government and corporate powers that be, most of whom benefit directly from instituationalized racism, have other thoughts.prev