Disney/Marvel and WB/DC are having a bit of an arms race right now in the live-action television arena (although DC is bizarrely yielding the animated television field to Marvel). Marvel has their deal with Netflix involving 4 different TV shows and a mini-series. Plus, Agent Carter is in development at ABC. DC, meanwhile, has 5 different shows in development, spread across three different networks.
Back in early November I ranked the chances of DC’s 5 shows actually ending up on TV, surviving past the pilot stage. Today, I’m offering a quick update on each of those shows:
Network: The CW
Background: An Arrow spin-off centered Grant Gustin’s version of Barry Allen. Jesse L. Martin, Danielle Panabaker, and Rick Cosnett have been respectively cast as a surrogate father figure for Barry and two potential villains. Only two major roles remain uncast – the love interest and best friend. The Flash is being co-created and produced by Arrow writer/DC Chief Creative Office Geoff Johns and Arrow co-creators/executive producers Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg. David Nutter will direct the pilot as he did for the pilot of Arrow.
Update: Oddly, the CW had not officially confirmed their order for a Flash pilot until yesterday. So, however now we know for sure they are totally making a Flash pilot. You’d sure hope so or else what was with all those casting announcements?
Should I Get Ready to Set My DVR?: Yes. This seems like a slam-dunk. Trusting that the resulting pilot doesn’t suck the only concern the CW might have would be introducing yet another genre show on their network. Plus, they already have one spin-off on the air, The Originals, and in addition to The Flash they also have a pilot order for a Supernatural spin-off. Could they really roll out a schedule in 2014/2015 featuring 3 different spin-offs?
Background: Somewhat adapted from the short-lived comic book series Gotham Central, Gotham will depict a pre-Batman Gotham City with a young not-yet-Commissioner James Gordon the central star. Bruce Wayne might appear in the series as a 12-year-old kid at the beginning, and the first episode will focus on Gordon’s investigation of the murder of Wayne’s parents, Martha and Thomas Wayne. Batman villains confirmed to appear in the show include The Riddler, The Penguin, and Catwoman. Bruno Heller (The Menalist/Rome) is attached as creator/executive producer. Fox won a bidding war over the show by agreeing to bypass the pilot stage and give it a series commitment, which basically means they’ll treat the as-yet-unwritten script like they would a pilot – if they like it, this thing goes straight to series, no fuss.
Update: It’s still not really clear whether this will be Smallville but with Batman or if this really will be the Jim Gordon show. However, The Penguin will be the first of the Batman villains to show up, appearing as younger, 20-something version. Danny Cannon (CSI, Nikita) will direct the pilot, and Donal Logue has been offered the role of Detective Harvey Bullock. There will be no connections with the Ben Affleck Batman nor cross-overs with Arrow.
Should I Get Ready to Set My DVR?: Probably. By making a series commitment, Fox has gone almost completely all in. They really, really want this thing to work.
Background: John Constantine began as a chain-smoking, trenchcoat-wearing British street magician/conman who became a paranormal investigator constantly tasked with looking into the latest supernatural happenings on the seedy streets of London in Hellblazer. He has most notably beaten cancer and journeyed to hell. He is a notoriously cynical, irreverent anti-hero, an individual around whom loved ones drop like flies and return to haunt him as literal ghosts. The TV adaptation comes from uber-screenwriter/producer David S. Goyer (The Dark Knight trilogy, Man of Steel, Da Vinci’s Demons) and writer/producer Daniel Cerone (The Mentalist, Dexter).
Update: NBC officially ordered a pilot earlier this month. Game of Thrones director and general TV directing all-star Neil Marshall will direct the pilot.
Should I Get Ready to Set My DVR?: Don’t get ahead of yourself. This is still just a pilot. Fox hit big with a supernatural genre show like Sleepy Hollow while NBC somewhat struck out with Dracula. So, NBC might try to chase some of that Sleepy Hollow viewership with a B-movie version of Constantine, pairing it with Grimm on Friday nights assuming Grimm survives. However, we’re still just at the pilot stage, and Constantine is going to be a bitch to adapt to TV.
Network: The CW
Background: Based on the comic of the same name from D.C.’s Vertigo imprint, iZombie is a supernatural crime procedural that follows a medical student-turned-zombie, who takes a job in the coroner’s office to gain access the sweet, delicious brains needed to keep her humanity. Each brain also allows her to experience the corpse’s memories, teaming with her medical examiner boss and a detective to solve homicide cases, and ultimately quiet the disturbing voices in her mind. At least functionally this could be like Pushing Daisies crossed with Warm Bodies. Tonally, think Veronica Mars as a zombie. Why? Rob Thomas and his Veronica Mars movie co-writer Diane Rugiero are attached as show co-creators/producers and will write the pilot.
Should I Get Ready to Set My DVR?: Not just yet, but keep an eye on it. It’s a show about zombies at a time when The Walking Dead inexplicably continues breaking its own series ratings records. Plus, the French drama The Returned has received critical praise for its fresh approach to the zombie story, will have a second season, and is getting a remake at A&E. ABC also has its own zombie drama, Resurrection, coming later this year. However, how will iZombie manage to pull off a convincing lead character who is a zombie without being revolting, and how will the weekly occurrence of her eating the brains of people in the morgue transfer to film?
Network: The CW
Background: Hourman centers on a brilliant-yet-troubled pharmaceutical analyst who discovers that the visions that have plagued him since childhood are actually glimpses of tragic events occurring one hour in the future. Determined to win back his ex-wife and son, he heroically prevents these tragedies from unfolding, finding both purpose and redemption along the way. That immediately draws to mind comparisons to shows like Journeyman, Flash Forward, Awake, and Angel. Michael Caleo (Ironside, The Sopranos) will pen the script and executive produce alongside Dan Lin and Jennifer Gwartz.
Update: There has been nothing new to report since the initial announcement, other than the fact that an episode of Arrow this season kind of, sort of referenced an aspect of the Hourman comic, specifically the miracle drug giving people powers.
Should I Get Ready to Set My DVR?: No. There’s not really enough information yet to know what to think about this project’s long-term chances, other than observing that recent shows to feature time-travel as a central component have not done well ratings-wise. However, the pilot orders for iZombie and Flash by the CW with no mention of Hourman yesterday certainly indicate Hourman is nowhere near as far along in its development.
There’s also rumors of a potential live-action Young Justice TV series on the CW. However, more pilots fail than don’t, and not all 5 of these shows are even at the pilot stage. DC has rather recently tried and failed to develop two separate live-action Wonder Woman shows as well as one about Aquaman. So, I guess this is the part where I’m trying to say all 5 of these shows could all fail to ever make it on the air. Wow. That’s a depressing note to go out on. So, instead let’s say that at the very least that Flash show looks really, really likely to get a full series order at the CW.
What say you? Which one intrigues you the most? Or, maybe, which one other than Flash intrigues you the most?