Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)


Comics have definitely come to the small screen in a big way. I mean, I suppose they always were on the small screen from way back with Superman to the 70s Hulk and Wonder Woman shows. It’s been done. But lately, it’s being done differently. Season spanning epic sagas are the craze these days, a la Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead and countless others. I’ve often commented to other people that television just seems like such a bigger deal these days than when I was a kid.

I mean sure, people watched things like Star Trek and sitcoms like Friends, Cheers and all that, but it wasn’t the same way: people watch every episode of entire series now and discuss their favorite parts with one another. They clear their schedule for Game of Thrones series premieres, have dinner parties, etc. I’ve often lamented DC’s difficulty getting feature films up and running. Although I’m wondering if this is the one area where maybe they had a little more foresight than Marvel, with launching Smallville, Arrow and now Gotham. Was DC actually, for once, ahead of the curve in this regard? Gotham already seems to be getting big press…

Still, I’d like to see something even more prime time. I mean, I want HBO or Showtime to do a show and do it with the kind of gravity and careful planning that they give the kind of shows that they produce. I have hope that Marvel’s new Netflix lineup is going to hit that kind of mark. Wouldn’t it be great to see an X-Men prime time cable television program? Like a highly-produced, well-performed, hourlong show with several seasons of material?

The actors are signed into their roles. Of course there’s always the possibility of production problems, but the general idea is that the parts are almost always available to use. What’s nice about a television show is that it gives you more creative control, I think. You can set the pace and scope of the story as slow and as broadly as you want; you don’t have to cram it all into two hours, or you don’t (in theory, anyway) have to write a character out because someone is filming another movie and doesn’t want to return for the part…

See, I’d love this. An X-Men television show with the appeal being not just the action but the degree to which the issues the show examines are relevant to our lives (which, of course, is always the appeal of X-Men). And there’s no rush. You can introduce characters slowly. You can watch them evolve. You can plot seeds that take a long time to develop. Essentially, you can make it more like the comic book. The goal for me, however, is to always try to move away from the formulaic action of the week structure of many shows. I’m impressed with Arrow for a lot of reasons, but it still has that faint residue of WB/CW–ness that comes through. I want a show that’s created in the style of the modern vision of the television, which is that the overarching meta-plot is given more attention to detail than giving us that once a week shot and sending us on our way.

It seems to me that the humanity in X-Men, blended with a healthy dose of very cool inhuman-ness (Er, not the Inhumans…mutants…nevermind), could lend itself to that sort of thing. I mean, what if every season of the show was a major X-Men story or crossover that you’d read? What would you like to see done with a show like that?

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