Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

I saw Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. last night. Mostly I’m a fan. I feel like maybe I see it as a show with potential more than a show that’s delivered exactly what I want right out of the gate. They’ve made me eat my words as far as Avengers connections go- with a Maria Hill cameo, the eEtremis virus and more. We’ll see if that sticks around. But yeah, wow.

So I guess the new sudden news is DC is getting together a Commissioner Gordon show. Like a crime-drama primetime show that’s set in the years before Batman makes his first forays into Gotham city. I guess the race to dominate primetime TV has begun, eh?

And frankly, I’m not thrilled with what they’re pitching here. Don’t get me wrong, I love Gordon. He’s evolved from a schlocky politician with a glowing red phone in his office to a hardened, seasoned crime fighter and my favorite character in the entire Batman drama. But does this sound like a show that’s really necessary to you?

I guess what I keep noticing is how much DC relies on Batman to get the job done. Batman’s in the new Superman film, now there’s going to be a Batman prequel TV show, etc… See, I’m a fan of Arrow. It’s a good show and it’s a nice demonstration that there’s someone else around in the DC universe who can hold the interest of the viewers and readers. It helps that Green Arrow popularity has been on a bit of a high over the last decade.

Make no mistake, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is more than just a bid to grab your attention for upcoming Marvel movies. DC has had some success on the big screen, but Smallville and Arrow have been relatively successful outings on the small one. Marvel wants to get in on that and that’s what they’re doing. DC has been reactive too. Marvel has a big superhero crossover movie. So you know what? Batman is in the next Superman film. Marvel’s got a new television show. So you know what? DC announces they’re going to produce another one themselves.

See, there’s nothing wrong with this kind of competition. Marvel and DC aren’t trying to ‘oust’ each other from business or anything. And frankly, competition sometimes helps compel better work from both of them.

But I’m disappointed when I feel like marketing is more important than substance. Like I said I love Gordon but there’s dozens of primetime crime dramas. Will another one, even one with Gordon, really captivate me? What is it that I’m going to learn about him, about Gotham or about Batman that I don’t already know? I mean, I suppose this might give them a chance to flaunt a few Batman characters that didn’t quite make it into a Christopher Nolan movie, but how many are that vital to see in the pre-Batman years anyway?

While I’d never say I’ve seen enough of Batman--I always think there’s room for more--something about DC leading with him all the time starts to feel like a cop-out move lately. Of course he’s their most interesting, well written character and his story has such a human appeal. At its core it’s more about crime than superheroes so it’s very relatable. But what else do you need to know? What Batman story still needs to be told (besides the ones that haven’t been written yet)? I don’t see the need for it right now.

Hell, why not a show about Lois Lane? Well, okay, that would sort of conflict with the current movie set starring Amy Adams. But you see what I mean there? Or a show about Sinestro where you start to see right and wrong get blurry over time as he gradually falls from grace in the Green Lantern Corps' eyes? How about a show about the Atom?

There are other things to tap into. Okay, maybe people weren’t big on that Wonder Woman pilot but a Wonder Woman show isn’t a bad idea per se. Just some thoughts.


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