You know it's the Golden Age of superhero content when side characters are getting their own TV shows on networks and streaming services. Krypton told the story of Superman’s grandfather for a good two seasons before it was cancelled. Gotham, a show centered on (Commissioner) James Gordon, reached its natural end after five whole seasons. Now Pennyworth, the story of Batman’s father figure and butler, is enjoying its prequel-esque first season.
Networks are giving the green light to characters who would have never had their time to shine before, because of how valuable superhero and comic book media is today. Which got us thinking, who else in DC’s vast catalog of characters would deserve their own live-action run?
10 Jimmy Olson (Superman)
One of the most prominent characters in Superman lore that no one ever talks about is good ol’ Jimmy Olsen. The spiffy photojournalist has been a core figure in Superman media for nearly 80 years. Young Jimmy first appeared as an unnamed reporter in Action Comics #6. He was officially introduced as Jimmy Olsen on The Adventures of Superman radio show in April, 1940.
However, unlike Alfred Pennyworth, Jimmy hasn’t reached mainstream popularity yet. With networks now eyeing side characters to headline their own TV shows, Jimmy Olsen’s adventures as a fearless journalist at the Daily Planet - oftentimes adjacent to that of Superman and Lois Lane’s - would make for an entertaining hour of television every week.
9 Batman Jones (Batman)
Unlike Bruce Wayne, Batman Jones isn’t a secret identity. That really is his name! Created by Bill Finger and Jack Schiff, Batman Jones made his first appearance in Batman #108 (June 1957). After they were rescued by Gotham’s caped crusader, Batman Jones’ parents named their newborn son in honor of the Dark Knight. (And we thought naming your kid Daenerys was bad!) Jones grew up idolizing Batman with ambitions of becoming a crimefighter himself. Stamp collecting eventually got the better of him, but even as an adult, Batman Jones is considered an expert on all-things Batman.
A miniseries centered on a Batman expert (who doesn’t turn into some crazed supervillain) could be a lot of fun.
8 Alura Zor-El (Supergirl)
If a series about Superman’s grandfather can get the greenlight (albeit being cancelled after two seasons), there’s no reason why the mother of Supergirl can’t have her story told. Alura Zor-El survived the destruction of Krypton alongside her husband, Zor-El. Years later, when a second wave of annihilation threatened the planet, Alura sent her daughter to Earth much like Jor-El did with his infant son. The twist? The Zor-Els survived yet again!
The fact that Alura and Zor-El survived not one, but two catastrophic events on Krypton makes their story worth telling. The tale of two Kryptonians searching for their daughter while traversing the cosmos sounds just about perfect.
7 Aaron Cash (Batman)
Arkham Asylum is full of crazed supervillains and corrupted personnel, which is why Aaron Cash is such an anomaly. Cash is a Corrections Officer and is neither a crony nor someone who’s one bad day away from terrorizing Gotham. In fact, Aaron Cash is one of Batman’s most trusted allies. Fans of the Arkham videogames may recognize Cash. He also makes a cameo in The Lego Batman Movie.
A series about a trusty officer who spends so much time around the scum of Gotham could either be a Hannibal-esque drama or a sitcom. The fact that he gets his arm chomped off by Killer Croc and uses a prosthetic hook in its place is just icing on the cake.
6 Trixie Collins (Booster Gold)
Booster Gold is one of the most overlooked comics in DC’s line-up, which is a shame because it has some pretty fascinating characters. Take Trixie Collins, for example - an office worker who is hired by a time-traveling Booster Gold to be his personal assistant. After he is attacked by a villainous mob, Trixie has to take a weakened Booster back to the 25th century to help him stay alive. She does this by putting on the powered suit, which turns her into Goldstar, Booster’s temporary sidekick.
A superhero’s personal assistant who doubles-up as a sidekick from time to time sounds like a sitcom waiting to happen. Although the story isn’t as progressive as it should be, creative liberties should be able to adapt Trixie’s story for more modern times.
5 Amanda Waller (DC)
Amanda Waller is the connective tissue that holds a lot of DC’s Bat-verse together. She orchestrated Terry McGinnis’ ascent in Batman Beyond. She pieced the Suicide Squad together. Long story short, Amanda Waller is a ruthless, cunning, ambivalent government operative who is both friend and foe to Batman, his allies, and his enemies.
Her stance on what she calls “people with powers” makes her one of the most interesting non-superhuman characters in DC’s illustrious catalogue. A show that focuses on Waller’s missions around Earth’s mightiest heroes and villains could be gold for any network or streaming service.
4 The Hat (Supergirl)
The Hat could headline a bizarre superhero show in the vein of Happy, Legion, or Doom Patrol. As if the name isn’t kooky enough, the origin story of how Rampotatek came into possession of a power-infused hat is enough to warrant its own season. Hailing from Japan, Rampotatek is a wannabe superhero who finds a “demon hat” that imbues him with magical abilities. The Hat, Rampotatek’s superhero alias, is then recruited by Manchester Black to join The Elite - a violent group of villains who eventually become enemies of Superman.
Fans of the Supergirl TV show might recognize The Hat has the character played by Louis Ozawa Changchien.
3 Kirigi (Batman)
Kirigi is a Martial Arts Grandmaster who taught Bruce Ways a myriad of combat styles, making him the greatest fighter in the world. Many of Kirigi’s students are also highly-skilled assassins who would later join the League of Assassins under Ra’s al Ghul. In Batman Begins, Bruce Wayne’s training in the Himalayas is heavily inspired by Kirigi’s arc in the comics. Fans of the Arkham City videogame will also recognize Kirigi, who makes an appearance during “Initiation”.
While we’ve seen plenty of TV shows about Batman and his host of allies and enemies, we have yet to see a show about the martial arts master who trained the greatest crimefighter on the planet.
2 Emiko (Green Arrow)
Emiko made her live-action debut in the seventh season of Arrow, played by Sea Shimooka. She’s a highly-skilled archer who spends a significant portion of her young life believing she’s the daughter of Komodo - a masked archer who betrayed and murdered Robert Queen. Emiko is, in fact, Robert’s daughter and the half-sister of Oliver Queen aka the Green Arrow.
A Hanna-esque TV series focusing on Emiko as a child who is weaponized by her kidnapper-turned-father-figure would be fascinating. In the New 52 reboot, Emiko eventually becomes the Red Arrow and is oftentimes the sidekick of her brother, Oliver.
1 Atlanna (Aquaman)
Remember when Nicole Kidman kicked all kinds of undersea ass in the opening minutes of Aquaman? It was one of the coolest scenes in that movie! While Aquaman is obviously the protagonist of his own story, we can’t deny that Atlanna is a badass whose adventures could potentially trump her son’s. The Queen of Atlantis fled her kingdom and a marriage she was made to accept, in order to live the life she wanted. She’s constantly pursued by Atlantis’ army and is forced to constantly be on the run, lest endanger the lives of anyone she comes into contact with.
Since butlers and parents and even grandparents are getting their own spin-off TV shows these days, why not the Adventures of Atlanna: Fugitive of the Seven Seas?