Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Memo to WB: Lay off the Dick -- reach for the Star!

Comic By Comic mentioned today that Warner Brothers is putting together The Graysons, focusing on Dick -- excuse me, "DJ" -- Grayson's life before becoming the ward of a certain rich do-gooder in Gotham.

Needless to say, cutting off the series at that point would preclude the chance of seeing Dick mature and become Nightwing. (Although, that role has allegedly sparked the interest of another 'Hero.') But, given that the Smallville people are helming The Graysons, you can bet we'll get enough continuity in-jokes and fan service to keep people interested. Personally, I wouldn't mind seeing Gar Logan surface as a sideshow act in the Graysons' circus.

In talking about the new series with my friend Combustible Monkey this morning, though, we noted that it reflects yet another example of the disconnect between using super-properties on TV and the big screen. Remember, the 'Ville's big thing is, No Spandex. Same with Heroes. The no-spandex rule sticks out even further in the latter; is there any doubt that if Heroes were a comic, the first series would have ended with the ensemble banding together and going after the Company? Instead, the last 'proper' superhero show on network TV was Birds Of Prey. How sad is that?

Warner Brothers, which controls DC's properties, is particularly myopic when it comes to TV, especially when you consider the critical and commercial success of its' animated shows; Batman: TAS saved animation for me in the '90s and the Justice League programs displayed the kind of ensemble work Heroes still wishes it could pull off. As Monkey points out, WB would be best served easing up on its Batman/Superman obsession and developing one of its' lower-tier characters, like The Question, Dr. Fate, The Spectre, or ...

That's right, Starman. If you think about it, Jack Knight could give a network the kind of Supernatural- type hero it should be salivating over: young enough to be relatable to teens and twentysomething; a hipster fashion sense, which could lead to profitable music and clothing tie-ins; a built-in legacy and Yoda character in his father; marketable supporting characters in The Shade and the newest Mist; and storyarcs that draw from enough disparate sources -- sci-fi, space opera, horror, and even cop show tropes with the O'Dares -- to keep any given season lively, with competent writing. There's even the potential here to tie in any of the JLA characters showing up on Smallville, or maybe even Clark Kent or Dick Grayson, if those franchises stay afloat.

Ironically, I've come to learn that the reason we don't already have a Starman series is precisely because the BOP series flopped so badly. Which makes that even sadder. And that's probably why the WB feels it has to keep spinning on the Bat/Superaxis to make a character "viable."

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