With the renewals las week of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Gotham and iZombie, new fewer than 16 comics-based television series — from Arrow to Legion to Wynonna Earp — are set to return for the 2017-2018 season. (Only one current show, the DC Comics-inspired Powerless, was canceled.) However, they certainly won’t be alone: The returning line-up will be matched in number by new adaptations, some of which were just made official over the past several days in a flurry of announcements.
Yes, that means there could be more than 32 series based on comic-book properties available within the next year across network and cable television, streaming services and assorted digital platforms. And that’s not counting the projects in the pipeline, including the recently announced Locke & Key and Donald Glover’s animated Deadpool.
To help you keep up with the rapidly changing lineup, we’ve assembled what you need to know about the new comics-based live-action and animated shows arriving on screens within the next year.
16. BLACK LIGHTNING
Network: The CW
Originally in development at Fox, the superhero drama moved in February to The CW, where it was fast-tracked to join a 2017-2018 lineup already packed with returning comics adaptations Arrow, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, The Flash, iZombie and Supergirl. Based on the DC Comics character introduced in 1977 by Tony Isabella and Trevor Von Eeden, Black Lightning centers on Jefferson Pierce, who decided years ago to hang up his costumed identity. But with one daughter hell-bent on justice and another a star student who’s being recruited by a local game, Jefferson is drawn back into the fight as the wanted vigilante Black Lightning. The drama was given a full-series order last week.
Executive produced by Greg Berlanti (Supergirl, The Flash), Mara Brock Akil (The Game) and Sarah Schechter (Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow), the series stars Cress Williams as Jefferson Pierce, China Anne McClain as Jennifer Pierce, Christine Adams as Lynn and Nafessa Williams as Anissa Pierce. Black Lightning will premiere in 2018 at part of The CW’s midseason lineup.
15. CLOAK & DAGGER
We already received a glimpse of the teen romantic drama last month with the teaser trailer for Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger, which updates the young heroes introduced in 1982 by Bill Mantlo and Ed Hannigan. This 21st-century version of Tyrone Johnson and Tandy Bowen are two New Orleans teenagers from different backgrounds who suddenly find themselves burdened with superpowers — Tyrone can engulf others in darkness and Tandy can emit daggers of light — that link them to one another. Although they discover they’re better together than apart, their feelings for each other make their already-complicated world even more difficult to navigate.
Set to arrive in early 2018 on the Disney-owned Freeform, the 1o-episode first season of Cloak & Dagger stars Olivia Holt as Tandy Bowen and Aubrey Joseph as Tyrone Johnson, with Andrea Roth, Gloria Reuben, Miles Mussenden, Carl Lundstedt, James Saito and J.D. Evermore.
Platform: CW Seed
Fans disheartened by the cancellation of NBC’s Constantine in 2015, and the inability to resurrect the supernatural drama on The CW, had their spirits lifted in January with the surprise announcement the occult detective will return in animated form — with star Matt Ryan returning to the role. It’s part of an animated revival for the fan-favorite DC Comics/Vertigo character that includes prominent roles in Warner Bros. Animation’s direct-to-DVD movie Justice League Dark, where he’s voiced by Ryan, and Cartoon Network’s Justice League Action, where he’s played by Damian O’Hare.
Five or six 10-minute episodes of the series will stream on The CW’s digital platform CW Seed, home to the animated Vixen and the upcoming Freedom Fighters: The Ray, as well as reruns of the live-action Constantine.
13. THE DEFENDERS
The culmination of Marvel’s first four Netflix dramas, the eight-episode miniseries brings together Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist to save New York City from a threat too big for any one of them to face alone. What exactly that is remains a bit of a mystery, but we know it involves the enigmatic Alexandra, played by Sigourney Weaver, the ancient ninja clan known as the Hand, and that enormous hole discovered at Midland Circle in Daredevil‘s second season.
Arriving Aug. 18 on Netflix, Marvel’s The Defenders stars Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock/Daredevil, Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones, Mike Colter as Luke Cage and Finn Jones and Danny Rand/Iron Fist, with Sigourney Weaver as Alexandra, Elodie Yung as Elektra, Scott Glenn as Stick, Deborah Ann Woll as Karen Page, Elden Henson as Foggy Nelson, Carrie-Anne Moss as Jeri Hogarth, Rachael Taylor as Trish Walker, Eka Darville as Malcolm Ducasse, Simone Missick as Misty Knight and Jessica Henwick as Colleen Wing.
12. FREEDOM FIGHTERS: THE RAY
Platform: CW Seed
A somewhat-unexpected addition to the CW Seed’s expanding animated lineup, Freedom Fighters: The Ray will feature the first gay superhero to star in his own series. Although the DC Comics hero dates to 1973, this cartoon is based on the version introduced by Grant Morrison and Jim Lee in 2015 in The Multiversity: Raymond “Ray” Terrill is a reporter who uncovers a group of scientists working on a secret government project that transforms light into a weapon of mass destruction. However, before he can report his discovery, Ray is exposed to a “genetic light bomb” that imbues him with light-based powers. Calling himself The Ray, he’s recruited by Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters to fight oppression.
Announced by The CW in August 2016, The Ray is intended to follow in the footsteps of the animated Vixen, and make the jump to live-action with an appearance on the network’s Arrowverse dramas. No casting or premiere date have been announced.
11. THE GIFTED
This time last year, Fox and Marvel were developing a TV drama inspired by the X-Men’s longtime foes the Hellfire Club, only to abruptly change directions and move forward with what would become The Gifted. Developed by Burn Notice creator Matt Nix, it’s essentially Midnight Special with mutants, following a suburban couple whose ordinary lives are upended by the discovery that their two children possess extraordinary abilities. Forced to go on the run from the government, they join up with an underground network of mutants and must fight for survival.
X-Men fans will recognize some of the characters, with Emma Dumont cast as Lorna Dane/Polaris, Jamie Chung as Blink/Clarice Fong and Blair Redford as John Proudstar/Thunderbird. There’s also the promise of the Sentinels, the mutant-hunting robots that have long plagued the X-Men. The Gifted also stars Stephen Moyer as Reed Strucker, Amy Acker as Caitlin Strucker, Sean Teale as Marcos Diaz/Eclipse, Coby Bell as Jace Turner, Natalie Alyn Lind as Lauren Strukcer and Percy Hynes White as Andy Strucker. The Gifted will air Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/PT this fall, following Lucifer.
The first of two comics-based dramas coming to Syfy, Happy! is an adaptation of the 2012 Image Comics miniseries by writer Grant Morrison and artist Darick Robertson. Christopher Meloni (Law & Order: SVU, Man of Steel) stars as Nick Sax, an intoxicated, corrupt former police offer turned hit man adrift in a world of casual murder, soulless sex and betrayal. When a hit goes wrong, leaving Nick wounded and with the police and the mob on his tail, his life is forever changed by a tiny, relentlessly positive, imaginary blue-winged horse named Happy (voiced by Saturday Night Live veteran Bobby Moynihan).
Executive producers Morrison and Brian Taylor (Crank, Gamer) co-wrote the pilot, which Taylor also directed. Although no premiere date has been announced, Happy! is scheduled to join Syfy’s 2017-2018 lineup.
Inhumans was originally in development as part of Marvel Studios’ film slate, so it’s perhaps only fitting that the drama will debut Sept. 1 in IMAX theaters ahead of its Sept. 26 broadcast premiere on ABC. Based on the race of genetically advanced beings with extraordinary powers introduced in 1965 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in Marvel Comics’ Fantastic Four, the series centers on the Royal Family of Inhumans, who are splintered by a military coup and escape to Hawaii, where their interactions with humanity may prove to not only save them, but Earth itself.
Executive produced by Scott Buck (Iron Fist, Dexter), the eight-episode first season stars Anson Mount as Black Bolt, Iwan Rheon as Maximus the Mad, Serinda Swan as Queen Medusa, Ken Leung as Karnak, Isabelle Cornish as Crystal, Eme Ikwuakor as Gorgon, Mike Moh as Triton and Sonya Balmores as Auran.
While Smallville famously told the story of Superman before he donned the red cape, Krypton journeys far deeper into the past of the iconic superhero, to his home world. Set two generations before that planet’s destruction, the drama centers on the Man of Steel’s grandfather Seg-El (Cameron Cuffe of The Halcyon), whose House of El was ostracized and shamed, as he fights to redeem his family’s honor and save his world from chaos.
Developed by David S. Goyer (Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice) and Damian Kindler (Sleepy Hollow, Stargate SG-1), Krypton looks to be Romeo & Juliet in far-flung space, with Georgina Campbell (Broadchurch) playing Lyta Zod, a reluctant cadet in the Kyrptonian military who’s in a clandestine, forbidden relationship with Seg-El. Debuting as part of Syfy’s 2017-2018 schedule, Krypton also stars Elliot Cowan (Da Vinci’s Demons), Ann Ogbomo (World War Z), Rasmus Hardiker (Your Highness), Wallis Day (Will), Aaron Pierre (Tennison) and Ian McElhinney (Game of Thrones).
7. MARVEL’S SPIDER-MAN
Network: Disney XD
The successor to Ultimate Spider-Man, which aired from 2012 to 2017, Marvel’s Spider-Man will swing onto Disney XD this summer, bringing with it a back-to-basics approach to the wall-crawler. Timed to capitalize on the July premiere of the live-action Spider-Man: Homecoming, the animated series will return Peter Parker to high school, where he’s once again an ordinary teenager who suddenly finds himself with strange new abilities and a staggering responsibility.
Although no announcements have been made about the supporting cast, merchandising art for the series surfaced in December depicting fan favorites Miles Morales and Spider-Woman (aka Spider-Gwen), who made appearances on Ultimate Spider-Man, and the popular Marvel Comics villain/antihero Venom. More recent promotional art for Marvel’s Spider-Man showcased classic rogues Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, the Vulture, the Lizard and the Rhino.
6. NEW WARRIORS
Receiving a 10-episode order from the Disney-owned Freeform, Marvel’s New Warriors competes with Freedom Fighters: The Ray for the most surprising entry in the comics-to-TV pipeline. The first live-action comedy from Marvel Television, the show focuses on six young people with superpowers who live and work together: the fan-favorite Squirrel Girl, the empowered fangirl who’s strong, acrobatic and can talk to squirrels; Mister Immortal, the trouble-making Lothario who can (possibly) never die; Night Thrasher, the self-promoting hero with his own YouTube channel; Speedball, the impulsive people-pleaser who can launch balls of energy; Microbe, the shy hypochondriac who can communicate with germs; and Debrii, the quick-witted trickster and low-level telekinetic.
Debuting in 2018, New Warriors is about “that time in your life when you first enter adulthood and feel like you can do everything and nothing at once — except in this world, bad guys can be as terrifying as bad dates.” No casting has been announced.
5. THE PUNISHER
Spinning out of the second season of Marvel’s Daredevil, The Punisher sees Jon Bernthal (The Walking Dead) return to his role as Frank Castle, who’s haunted and hunted following the murder of his family, and becomes a vigilante determined to fight crime by any means necessary.
Arriving later this year on Netflix, The Punisher also stars Deborah Ann Woll, reprising her Daredevil role as Karen Page; Ben Barnes as Billy Russo, the head of the private military corporation Anvil and Castle’s best friend from his time in Special Forces; Ebon Moss-Bachrach as Micro, a former NSA analyst who assists Castle; Amber Rose Revah as Dinah Madani, a Homeland Security agent who’s vexed by Castle; Daniel Webber as Lewis Walcott, a young veteran struggling in civilian life; Jason R. Moore as Curtis Hoyle, a friend of Castle, and one of the few people who knows he’s still alive; and Paul Schulze as Rawlins, a high-ranking member of the CIA whose operations in Afghanistan intersect with Castle.
Based on the Marvel Comics series created by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona, Runaways centers on six teenagers who can barely stand each other but must nevertheless unite to defeat a common foe: their parents, whom they discover are secretly members of a group of supervillains called the Pride.
Premiering in 2018 on Hulu, Runaways stars Rhenzy Feliz as Alex Wilder, a loud-and-proud nerd; Lyrica Okano as Nico Minoru, a budding wiccan with a carefully crafted goth facade; Virginia Gardner as Karolina Dean, whose model-perfect exterior disguises an eagerness to explore her identity and desires; Ariela Barer as Gert Yorkes, a brash, purple-haired social justice warrior; Gregg Sulkin as Chase Stein, a lacrosse-playing heartthrob with flashes of engineering brilliance; and Allegra Acosta as Molly Hernandez, the youngest member, known for her positive outlook and deep yearning to belong. They’re joined by Ryan Sands, Angel Parker, James Yaegashi, Kevin Weisman, Brigid Brannagh, Annie Wersching, Kip Pardue, James Marsters and Ever Carradine.
3. THE TICK
Platform: Amazon Prime
Ben Edlund’s indie-comics superhero takes a third stab at television following the 1994 animated series and the short-lived 2001 live-action comedy starring Patrick Warburton. Set in a world where superheroes have operated for decades, The Tick follows an accountant with no powers who realizes his city is owned by a supervillain. As he struggles to uncover the conspiracy, he falls in league with a strange blue superhero played by Peter Serafinowicz (Guardians of the Galaxy).
Arriving Aug. 25 on Amazon Prime, The Tick also stars Griffin Newman (Vinyl) as Arthur Everest, Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen) as The Terror, Valorie Curry (House of Lies) as Dot Everest, Yara Martinez (Jane the Virgin) as Ms. Lint and Brendan Hines as Superian (Scorpion). Edlund, who since creating The Tick has gone on to work on such projects as Titan A.E., Firefly, The Venture Bros. and Supernatural, serves as executive producer.
Platform: Warner Bros.’ new DC Comics-branded digital service
While DC Comics’ Teen Titans has met with repeated success in animated form, the property has experienced a little difficulty getting a foothold in live-action. Titans began development in 2014 at TNT, only for the cable channel to pass on the series by early 2016. Geoff Johns, DC Entertainment’s president and chief creative officer, promised at the time his company still had plans for the project, which came together in April with the announcement by Warner Bros. of a new DC-branded subscription digital service.
Inspired by DC’s New Teen Titans, created in 1980 by Marv Wolfman and George Perez, the series will find Dick Grayson (presumably as Nightwing) emerging from the shadows to lead a team of young superheroes that includes Starfire, Raven and, as Johns himself teased, Beast Boy — characters familiar to comics readers and fans of the cartoons alike. Written by Johns, Akiva Goldsman (Batman Forever, Transformers: The Last Knight) and Greg Berlanti (The Flash, Supergirl), Titans will launch in 2018 with the new digital service.
1. YOUNG JUSTICE: OUTSIDERS
Platform: Warner Bros.’ new DC Comics-branded digital service
OK, it’s not exactly new, but it undoubtedly feels like it. More than three years after Young Justice ended its second season on Cartoon Network, fans received the news they’d long hoped, and campaigned, for: that the young counterparts of the Justice League — among them, Aqualad, Miss Martian, Robin, Bumblebee, Blue Beetle and Static — will at long last return for Season Three. Produced by series creators Brandon Vietti and Greg Weisman, Young Justice: Outsiders will pit the team against its greatest challenge yet as the young heroes take on meta-human trafficking and the threat it poses to a society caught in the middle of a genetic arms race that spans not only the globe but the galaxy.
Young Justice: Outsiders will debut in 2018 with the live-action Titans on Warner Bros.’ recently announced DC Comics-branded subscription digital service.
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