News broke earlier this month that SyFy and “The Dark Knight” scribe David S. Goyer were developing “Krypton,” a series that will follow Superman’s grandfather on his home planet of Krypton years before its destruction. “Krypton” is only one of a dozen or so other DC television projects currently running or in production, up to and including “Supergirl,” “Titans,” and the long-gestating “Hourman.” Arguably, “Krypton” is one of the riskier moves that the DC/WB conglomerate has made; whereas a show like “Gotham” centers on a known and beloved character, “Krypton” goes with a distant relation of the very popular Man of Steel in a galaxy far, far away. With DC willing to take a gamble on a show like “Krypton,” it might get one thinking: If “Krypton” can be greenlit, what other DC properties could — and maybe should — work the small screen as well?
Well, fortunately for them, I have a few suggestions. Keeping in mind that DC doesn’t seem particularly concerned with the continuity between each series as they take residence in networks across the spectrum, let’s explore some of possibilities.
Lois Lane: Ace Reporter
With “Krypton” and “Supergirl” a go, it looks like just about any “Superman” property is viable so long as they don’t include the Man of Steel himself. That being said, what better than a weekly show that highlights the human element of Superman’s world? In most incarnations, Lois was an established journalist before Clark arrived on the scene. A Lois-based series could see her rising through the ranks of the Daily Planet as she tackles some of Metropolis’s odder — and perhaps extraterrestrial — mysteries. A Lois Lane story is prime for procedural beat, with one story or more covered per episode as the character learns more about her surroundings and herself. Further, she comes with a built-in supporting cast in Jimmy Olsen and Perry White. The show could easily fly under the title “Metropolis,” exploring the city before — and maybe even after — Superman arrives on the scene, like a more contemporary “Gotham.” After all, in “New 52” continuity, Lois Lane is less of a love interest for Clark Kent and more of a tour de force in Metropolis news media.
Sending Lois out on her own isn’t unheard of in the DC Universe; she’s always had solo adventures and even headlined her own series for a spell. What’s more, her background as a military brat provides excellent fodder for compelling flashbacks and family drama as she butts heads with her father and sister. The series could take a page out of the upcoming Gwenda Bond book, “Fallout,” and perhaps focus more on her time as a young adult and budding journalist in a “Smallville”-esque fashion. Plus, with a leading lady as charismatic as Lois Lane, a “Metropolis” TV show would make for an engaging character study.
This, I realize, is a pretty broad topic, but I use it as a catch-all term that encompasses three groups in particular: the Suicide Squad, the Secret Six, and the Rogues. Each group has — no pun intended — its cons: the Suicide Squad with its brand recognition for the upcoming film and appearances on “Arrow”; the Secret Six with its roster of lesser known characters (outside of Bane and its cult following, of course); and the Rogues for their numerous appearances on “Arrow” and “Flash.” Though these reasons — while simplified — may complicate matters, it doesn’t undermine the wealth of the properties as they stand on their own. At this moment, DC has no real villain centric series in production; heroes like Oliver Queen may have their darker moments, but they’ve always had the best intentions.
A focus on villains would open up DC to explore its more complex members. That isn’t to say, of course, that they haven’t done a wonderful job with the existing series so far; on the contrary, they’ve done such a great job dealing with the heroes’ less-than-savory urges that they would benefit from expanding upon that with a villain-based show. A villain series would fit nicely alongside DC’s grimmer, grittier shows with something like “Suicide Squad” but have the opportunity to include some comic relief, as with “The Rogues” and “Secret Six.” At the same time, it would separate itself from the overabundance of other superhero shows with its distinct choice of leads. Although a villain show might be something of a risk, in that it would need likable if unsavory leads, it certainly isn’t riskier than a series like “Krypton.”
Birds of Prey
Yeah, yeah, I know that this one’s been done already, but — in this golden age of DC television — the time to strike is when the iron’s hot. Plus, where there’s good stock in superhero properties today, a “Birds of Prey” television show has a better shot at good casting, better writing, and a bigger budget. Though some famous “Birds of Prey” members have appeared elsewhere — including Black Canary and Huntress in “Arrow” — the list of recurring characters is huge, including fan-favorites like Big Barda, Vixen and Oracle, and newer inventions like Starling. The show could cherry pick its main characters and rotate others, growing and shrinking as the plot demands. What’s more, it could play with the characters’ chemistry, focusing on their strong personalities and the occasionally tense dynamic between those with powers and those without.
By Hawks, I mean specifically Hawkman and Hawkgirl, the star-crossed lovers cursed to reincarnate and watch each other die in each new generation. Though I have a soft spot for Sheira thanks to the “Justice League” cartoon from the early 2000s, Kendra Saunders makes for a more compelling story with her troubled background and disconnect from the Hawk legacy (at least at first). Kendra, as one of the two leads, would provide an easy access point for viewers unfamiliar with Hawk mythology as she learns and grows into her abilities, guided by Sheira’s memories. Further, her need to learn about Carter — that is, her inability to recognize him right away — would provide some nice complexity in their relationship, which is built upon centuries of love and conflict. With the added drama of Carter and Kendra knowing that the other is a hair’s breadth from death’s door, the show would have an extra element of urgency, particularly on Carter’s end. The two could grapple with themes of destiny vs. free will as they come ever closer to finding Hastor, the man who cursed them.
If “Titans” can feature Nightwing without establishing Batman, then “Batgirl” can too, dammit! While a “Batgirl” show wouldn’t necessarily have to focus on Barbara Gordon, it could certainly take a cue from her history and have the main character be inspired by Batman rather than taken under his wing directly. Indeed, the show could forgo Batman altogether, choosing instead to focus on a legacy of Batgirls with Oracle as a mentor, a la Babs with Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown. Though quite new, the idea isn’t unheard of; the League of Batgirls debuted for the very first time in Gail Simone’s penultimate issue, “Batgirl: Futures End” #1, so there’s plenty of wiggle room for creativity there as it isn’t tied down to continuity. From Stephanie Brown to Cass Cain to even Tiffany Fox, there’s a plethora of characters to chose from in order to build a diverse, dynamic cast. With Nightwing busy leading the Teen Titans, “Batgirl” could fill the hole left by Batman, with Barbara Gordon mentoring street-level crime fighters in lieu of the Dark Knight himself.
Alternatively, “Batgirl” could really narrow the focus and feature only one of the aforementioned leading ladies. For instance, it could follow in the footsteps of Cameron Stewart, Brendan Fletcher and Babs Tarr’s current “Batgirl” comics run to remove Barbara Gordon from Gotham altogether and slap her in a college setting to combat cybercrime in her own unique way. Or, perhaps, Stephanie Brown takes the helm for a compelling father/daughter drama that often comes to secret identities and tense family dinners. Or maybe fan favorites are forgone in favor of someone like Tiffany Fox, who starts out with a clean state for something unapologetically new and refreshing. They wouldn’t have to be entirely separate from the other Batgirls, either; a series like this would be ripe for crossovers and guest characters, making for limitless possibilities.
You may be asking yourself: Do we really need another superhero TV show in the works? And that’s fair. The television landscape has become crowded with a glut of comic-based shows. However, if DC does plan to move ahead with even more, that’ll be an executive decision — not ours. Whether or not they have more shows in the works, they have a wealth of rich comic book history from which to draw; I’ve only mentioned a fraction of the possibilities! If we do end up with another show or two, though, I believe DC should look a little closer to home than Krypton.
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