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Saturday, 15 November 2014

Editorial: Four DC Comic Characters That Could Be Adapted To TV.

Yeah, all we got from Children in Need re: Doctor Who was a one minute preview clip of the Christmas Special. Nothing I can really talk about there.

Editorial: Four DC Comic Characters
That Could Be Adapted To TV.

While Marvel dominates cinemas (in a way that is almost mocking of DC's very mediocre cinema performances), DC has been settling itself comfortably into television, creating a host of series based on its properties, from the surprisingly good (Arrow, The Flash) to the really bad (Constantine) to the obviously desperate to use Batman but not able to (Gotham). 

But there are so many more they could be using, and here are my top four picks. They're titled as if they were DC TV series, just so you know. As you can see, there's a pattern.


Owlman's a personal favourite of mine. Depending on the continuity, he's either an alternate universe brother to Bruce Wayne, Thomas, and a member of the Crime Syndicate of America; or he's regular Bruce Wayne's possible younger brother, left in a children's hospital for being sickly and kept secret by the Waynes (or, potentially, just a regular if deluded kid at a children's hospital funded by the Waynes, who came to believe he was their long lost child), who was later taken in and raised by a mysterious Gotham-ruling order, the Court of Owls. 

Perhaps weirdly, given that it's a New 52 origin and I hate the New 52, I quite like the Court of Owls origin story. 

So here's an idea for a series that would satisfy DC's need to put something Batman-ish on TV (while also not actually putting Batman on TV): Owl. Set in Gotham, an agent of the mysterious Court of Owls, Lincoln March, becomes a mysterious and kinda creepy vigilante who kills and displays criminals across Gotham, prompting a police search and a national outcry. Meanwhile, a war is brewing between the Court and businessman Roman Sionis, head of the Black Mask Syndicate.

See, that could be fun. It'd be like a Batman series, only evil.

The Spectre.

There apparently was a Spectre series in development at one point, but it seems to have vanished almost without a trace.

Still, it's a good property to adapt. The Spectre is an avenging angel in the body of corrupt police officer Jim Corrigan, going after wrongdoers and the forces of evil both and pretty much straight up murdering them, which is why he's not too well-liked by the rest of the DC universe. 

That's great fodder for a TV series, though. You could go one of two ways with it: Either have the Spectre be the dominant personality, a kind of fish-out-of-water angel character ala Supernatural's Castiel with the vengefulness and wrath dialled up to eleven, and have his supporting cast trying to restrain him and keep his general fury at the world in check; or have corrupt police detective Jim be the main character, struggling with demonic crime and the fact that he has an angel in his body trying (and plenty of times succeeding) to take control and deal out a very broad and very bloody definition of justice.

It'd also work well with the almost Kamen Rider thing the CW has going on right now, wherein each hero they have deals exclusively with one type of crime. The Flash deals with metahumans. Green Arrow deals with people who use bows. The Spectre could deal with horrifying demonic monstrosities. 


Zatanna is well-loved and relatively well-known, a staple across numerous DC adaptations, but she's never been given a starring role (outside of comics) yet. Which is a shame, because pretty much everything you would need to make a TV series has already been given to you. Unlike everyone else on this list, there aren't many adjustments you'd need to make. 

Charismatic and confident young woman Zatanna Zatara goes into the stage magician (and it can really be anything from 'pull a rabbit out of a hat' to 'Derren Brown crossed with Houdini' depending on how the network wants it) business to follow in her father's footsteps. She's living the life, performing magic shows, raking in the cash, and having plenty of fun with her friends in between. 

But Zatanna Zatara, Stage Magician, has a secret.

By - well, by the rest of the night, as the night is generally when people do magic shows, she is a vigilante, using real magical powers to fight criminals and the forces of evil. See? Easy. Make it happen, DC.


Cyborg's a popular character, if his wide usage across DC properties is anything to go by. He was in Teen Titans, Smallville and Justice League Unlimited, and he at least put in an appearance in Young Justice, not to mention his presence in many of the DC Animated films and video game Injustice: Gods Among Us. In comics, he's a pretty prominent member of the Justice League, too.

He also has a lot of stuff that can be used for character arcs in a television show. After all, Cyborg has lost his humanity and must adjust to a new life as someone who, in very Darth Vader fashion, is more machine than man. He also brings something new to the table in the form of powers: A tech-focused hero (by which I mean 'he is literally part robot') isn't something that has shown up in any of the DC TV adaptations so far, and you have a pretty much built in plot arc of 'evildoers want to take him apart to make more people like him' there.

The one big problem is that, being covered in metal parts, he might not fit the 'appropriately sexy' requirement for television heroes. But Smallville got around that just fine by just having him not look overtly robotic, and having it all on the inside - or you can take the middle road (or the 'Edward Elric Road' as it is known) and give him a mechanical limb or two, and maybe a mechanical eye. 

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