With the successes of Smallville, Arrow, and Agents of SHIELD (yeah, that last one has/had problems, but it’s a lot better than it was) and the billion-dollar blockbuster movies featuring people with superpowers, it’s not surprising that vigilante heroes will remain on our TV listings.
First up, NBC is ordering up a series called Constantine. Based on the popular and long-running Hellblazer comic (which is no more, but enough grumbling about that), it’ll feature the magic-using kind-of-detective John Constantine and (hopefully) his adventures fighting dark forces both without and within. It looks like they’re actually making him British, just like in the comics, as opposed to the version of the character played by Keanu Reeves. This is also a standard TV network, so we’ll see how far they’re willing to take the supernatural aspects of the comic before worrying about FX budgets and/or alienating the FCC.
Not everyone will be thrilled, but Agents of SHIELD has been renewed. It improved a lot after the latest Captain America movie, and a second season will perhaps let us see if the slow pacing of the early series was, as the showrunners claim, due to not being able to advance the plot too much until the show caught up with Cap’s movie exploits. We’ll also be getting a series called Marvel’s Agent Carter, a super-spy working in 1946 who has to cope not only with being a single woman in a male-dominated world, but with the apparent loss of Captain America. If you haven’t seen the one-shot they made for Agent Carter for the Iron Man 3 DVD, you can do so over here, until the lawyers take it down.
Finally, there’s Gotham, the prequel series that’s going to basically showcase the origins of Batman and his rogues gallery. The latest news is that the Joker will make an appearance along the way. As they mentioned the Batman tale, “The Killing Joke,” we can assume his origin will go along the lines of a failed standup comedian who turns to crime and, thanks to Batman, falls into a vat of chemicals that turn him into the clown-faced criminal we all know and love. If the original pitch for the show is carved in stone, that the series would end with Bruce Wayne donning the cape and cowl, then that shakes the Joker’s timeline up a bit. Still, the Joker has often said he can’t quite remember how he became what he is, so they’ve got some room to play with his TV analogue. I’m not sure when it’s supposed to take place, so I don’t know if Batman becomes Batman “today” and the show is all history or if Bruce’s parents died “today” and everything we see is “now.” It probably won’t cross over with any of DC’s films, so it probably doesn’t really matter. I’m hoping for the best from Gotham, though the trailer is mostly a bunch of cliche crime-noir one-liners. Perhaps it’ll get better and be a decent cop show with future supervillains tossed in, much like how The Winter Soldier is being described as a good espionage film that happens to have some super-soldiers running around in it.
Okay, TV, don’t mess these up or we’ll condemn you to the same fandom purgatory where most of us file our memories of Heroes, m’kay?