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Four Networks Greenlight Comic Book Series
Ironically, Only CBS Has No
ne; Sheldon Cooper Disappointed

(originally posted 5/8/2014)

Today it became clear that the Fanboys shall rule the airwaves...because I'm pretty sure that somebody out there is swearing that UHF gives you a clearer, cleaner picture. (That person is wrong, but still...)

This week, The CW, Fox, NBC and ABC all announced series pick-ups of shows based on comic books. CBS sat back and said, "nah, we're good with our one show that makes fun of people that read comic books."

First, on Monday Fox announced Gotham, as we knew they would. Produced by Bruno Heller, the series will follow the rise of Jim Gordon as Gotham City's best cop, the man driven to catch the killer of Thomas and Martha Wayne before Bruce himself can become Batman.

Then Wednesday, the CW made the expected move of renewing Arrow for a third season, then made fanboy dreams come true by committing to the spin-off series, or should we say, the one running away -- The Flash. Starring Grant Gustin as police scientist Barry Allen, the series will follow his dealing with new powers of super speed, and trying to run toward the truth about who murdered his mother.

Perhaps not surprising but welcome and off-beat, the CW also ordered IZombie, based on the DC/Vertigo comics series created by Chris Roberson and Mike Allred.

In some ways, it's a no-brainer (pun not intended), as it resembles the old Fox series Tru Calling. A young woman working at a morgue solves the murders of the bodies she tends to.

The twist? She herself is a zombie who can pass for a normal human as long as she consumes brains, and it's the brains she gets from the morgue that compel her toward mystery-solving.

It's also produced by Rob Thomas, who proved that he can write quirky compelling characters that can easily develop a cult following.

He created a little show called Veronica Mars, and of course the CW would like to see if lightning can strike twice.

Over at NBC yesterday, the network committed to seeing if where there's smoke, they can make fire. Writer David S. Goyer's pilot for Constantine has been approved for series, and from what little we can tell, it's going to be right. Or at least right by the current "New 52" version of the character.

Starring Matt Ryan as reluctant occult investigator John Constantine, the series will focus on his constant outwitting of dark forces, including Papa Midnight -- a semi-regular in Hellblazer. The pilot allegedly also adds back in Constantine's cabdriver buddy Chaz, doomed in the comics but certainly couldn't suffer a fate worse than being played by Shia LaBeouf.

Constantine is also the right kind of project for Goyer, a talented writer who tends toward the grim, gritty and cynical. While to many, including myself, that hurt a project like Man of Steel, it's the perfect tone for Alan Moore's mystical creation.

We must note, however, that the publicity picture of Ryan as Constantine features a lot of smoke, but no actual smoking. So it will be interesting if the series will retain that attribute -- Constantine is a chain smoker, which becomes an important plot point in his mythos.

Then today, over at ABC, well, it may not please Lon Lopez but as the last few episodes of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. have become much more of what fans wanted, the network has renewed it for a second season. Though whether it retains the name or not remains to be seen. Enemies of HYDRA doesn't have quite the same ring.

But better yet, ABC ordered the series I've been waiting for them to create since the Marvel One-Shot on Iron Man 3. That's right -- Hayley Atwell will reprise her role as Peggy Carter, one of the founding Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., in Agent Carter.

Though Dominic Cooper, who played young Howard Stark, has said he'd be willing, no word yet on whether or not he'll reprise his role.

But it's a playing field wide open. We can assume from Captain America: The Winter Soldierthat Peggy got married sometime in the fifties, and the one-shot took place just after World War II, so plenty of years to fill in and probably make dark hints about how Hydra took hold even with well-meaning heroes at the helm of S.H.I.E.L.D.

All around, it makes for some powerful programming blocks on all four of those networks. Just please, please, please don't put them all on the same night.

Derek McCaw

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