Stations to Debut Super Shows This Fall

Superheroes are here to save television.

Well, to be precise, TV networks want superheroes, and their massive pre-existing fanbase  to bring them viewers (and therefore money).Several TV channels are planning to bring the stories of several comic book heroes and villains to life.

Fox is bringing GOTHAM to the table, a show that picks up right after Bruce Wayne’s parents are murdered. It is being marketed as a giant origin story for both heroes and villains told from the POV of detective Jim Gordon. The only Batman villain not expected to make an appearance is Ra’s Al Ghul, the leader of the League of Assassins, the theory behind the absence of the villain is thought to be because he is expected to appear in the CW’s ARROW.

ARROW is a popular television show based off of DC comics’ Green Arrow franchise and is currently hyping up excitement by releasing clips of major villain Ra’s Al Ghul, car chases, and appearances of Ray Palmer; the man who will later become The Atom.  It’s spin-off, THE FLASH, features bumbling forensic scientist Barry Allen who finds himself struck by lighting and in a coma for nine months, only to wake up as the fastest man alive. After the pilot was screened at the San Diego Comic-Con, critics agreed that THE FLASH was not only the most promising of all of the new shows,but was also the most lighthearted, unlike it’s grittier “mother” show, or its competition,  NBC’s CONSTANTINE.

CONSTANTINE is aiming to bring horror lovers to NBC with a TV series centered around the darker, scarier, side of comics. Think paranormal activity with a detective/vigilante as the lead character with DC characters such as Doctor Fate and Zatanna teased to join the show later.

On MARVEL side of the television spectrum, Agents of SHIELD (whose ratings improved after Captain America: Winter soldier) is being renewed for a second season with the underlying uneasiness of “no-one-can-be-trusted” chatter surrounding the show following the revealing of major characters in the show being connected to HYDRA.  While Marvel seems to be dragging its feet with its other upcoming TV series, AGENT CARTER,  other properties are being put into the “in development” stage.

Whether you like superheroes or not, the sheer amount of DC/Marvel shows on television is important. First, it shows what people want to watch, which means TV channels will order similar shows, leading to realistic TV shows having a much harder job selling their pitch. Second, comics shows off America in a way nothing else can. Every culture has stories that change and reflect the views of that particular group as time goes on. The Greeks had their myths, the British have King Arthur, but comic books? Comic books really started turning into something popular in America during the Great Depression, and the stories have grown with America, featured American heroes (Captain America) and reflected American values and beliefs. In the end, aren’t most comic book heros supposed to represent truth, justice, and the American way?