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CBR’s Guide to Comic Book Television

by  in TV News Comment
CBR’s Guide to Comic Book Television

Oh, what a difference six years makes.

In 2010, Fox‘s “Human Target” launched its brief run, AMC introduced “The Walking Dead” with a six-episode inaugural season, and “Smallville” began its final flight on The CW. As difficult as it may be to believe now, that was the extent of live-action television series based on comic books.

Fast-forward to his coming fall, and there are no fewer than nine comic adaptations on the television schedule, with another two added to the mix at midseason. And that’s not even counting what’s airing now (hello, “Preacher” and “Wynonna Earp”) and what’s arriving this week (“Outcast” and the second season of “Powers”) — or the growing list of projects in production or in development.

With the broadcast networks just wrapping their current seasons, and the cable channels launching their summer lineups, CBR takes a look at television’s comic book landscape, breaking down which live-action series are on now, what ones are on the 2016-2017 schedule, and what to look for down the road.

New Series

Returning Series

In Production

In Limbo?

In Development

The Defenders

When to watch: No date has been announced by Netflix

What’s the deal? Announced by Marvel in 2013 alongside “Daredevil,” “Jessica Jones,” “Luke Cage” and “Iron Fist,” this miniseries will unite all four characters, presumably against one large threat. Marvel had previously said “The Defenders” would begin production following “Iron Fist,” which should mean sometime later this year – matching up with recent comments by “Jessica Jones” star Krysten Ritter that her show’s second season will film back to back with the miniseries. She’ll return for “The Defenders” along with Charlie Cox as Daredevil, Mike Colter as Luke Cage and Finn Jones as Iron Fist. The question remains whether Jon Bernthal will also appear as The Punisher.

The Punisher

When to watch: Unknown, but Netflix has teased it’s “coming soon”

What’s the deal? Punisher fans were longing for a Frank Castle television series even before the Marvel/Netflix deal, and now they’ll finally get one. Spinning out of “Daredevil’s” second season, “The Punisher” will see Jon Bernthal reprise his role as the popular antihero, with “Hannibal’s” Steve Lightfoot serving as showrunner. However, it seems likely we’ll first see Frank in the “Defenders” miniseries.

Krypton

When to watch: It was ordered to pilot earlier this month by Syfy

What’s the deal? Add this to the list of unlikely premises for a comic-book TV series: Developed by David S. Goyer (“The Dark Knight” trilogy, “Man of Steel”), it centers on Superman’s grandfather, whose House of El was ostracized, as he fights to redeem his family’s honor and save his world from chaos. The project has been in development since at least 2014.

Cloak and Dagger

When to watch: It was ordered straight to series just last month by ABC-owned Freeform

What’s the deal? First floated as a potential Marvel television series in 2010, “Cloak and Dagger” will finally make its way to the small screen as “a superhero love story.” Based on the Marvel Comics characters created by Bill Mantlo and Ed Hannigan, the series will center on Tandy Bowen and Tyrone Johnson, two teenagers from different backgrounds who grapple with newly acquired superpowers — Tandy can emit daggers of light, while Tyrone can engulf others in darkness — even as they fall in love.

Locke & Key

When to watch: Unknown

What’s the deal? The acclaimed supernatural thriller created by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez has had a relatively brief, but frustratingly complicated, relationship with Hollywood. Fox passed on a well-received TV pilot in 2011, but there were hopes that “Locke & Key” might find a home at another network, or new life as a movie – however, nothing ever materialized. Earlier this month IDW Publishing’s television and film division, IDW Entertainment, announced it will now develop a pilot on its own.

Harrow County

When to watch: Unknown

What’s the deal? Mentioned alongside Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba’s “The Umbrella Academy,” Paul Chadwick’s “Concrete” and Tom Vaughn’s “Back Up” in a first-look deal between Dark Horse and Universal Cable Productions, “Harrow County” is the first of the projects to move forward at Syfy, with Becky Kirsch (“12 Monkeys,” “Dominion”) on board as writer. Created by Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crooks, the horror comic centers on Emmy, who’s always known the woods surrounding her home contain ghosts, goblins and the restless dead. But on the eve of her 18th birthday, she learns she’s connected to the creatures, and to the land itself, in a way she never imagined: She’s the reincarnation of a powerful witch who was put to death on the day Emmy was born. And now the townsfolk intend to kill her too.

Sex Criminals

When to watch: Unknown

What’s the deal? Based on the acclaimed Image Comics series by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky, it was announced in 2015 as the first project in a two-year development deal between Universal TV and Milkfed Criminal Masterminds, the company own by Fraction and Kelly Sue DeConnick. “Sex Criminals” centers on Suzie and Jon, who use their ability to freeze time whenever they orgasm to rob banks.

Hellfire

When to watch: It could be a while

What’s the deal Announced at the same time as “Legion,” it’s based on the longtime X-Men foes the Hellfire Club. Set in the 1960s, the planned Fox series follow a government agent who learns that a power-hungry woman with extraordinary abilities is working with a secret society of millionaires to take over the world. While a “Legion” pilot has already been filmed, there appears to be little progress on “Hellfire,” which lost its showrunners earlier this year. Still, the project is said to be a priority for Fox.

Brooklyn Animal Control

When to watch: Unknown, as the pilot is being redeveloped by USA Network

What’s the deal? Ordered to pilot last summer by USA, the adaptation of the IDW Publishing supernatural crime series follows the exploits of the secret division of the New York City Police Department formed to interact with the werewolf community. The cable channel announced just last month that it now plans to redevelop the pilot with David S. Goyer remaining as producer and creator JT Petty still writing.

Five Ghosts

When to watch: Unknown

What’s the deal? Set in the 1930s, “Five Ghosts” follows the adventures of treasure hunter Fabian Gray after he becomes possessed by the ghosts of Merlin, Robin Hood, Sherlock Holmes, Musashi and Dracula. Based on the Image Comics series by Frank J. Barbiere and Chris Mooneyham, a pilot was put into development by Syfy in late 2014, but there’s been no public movement since.

Cobb

When to watch: Unknown

What’s the deal? Based on the ex-Secret Service agent created by Beau Smith and Eduardo Barreto, “Cobb” was announced in 2014 in a development deal between IDW Entertainment and eOne Television (“Hell of Wheels,” “Bitten”). Thania St. John (“Chicago Fire”) is set to write and produce the series.

Clone, Letter 44, Pax Romana and Ronin

When to watch: Unknown

What’s the deal? Syfy surprised in April 2014 with an ambitious development slate that included adaptations of Frank Miller’s “Ronin,” Jonathan Hickman’s “Pax Romana,” Charles Soule and Alberto Albuquerque’s “Letter 44,” and David Schulner and Juan Jose Ryp’s “Clone.” However, there’s been no signs of movement on the projects.

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