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She Has No Head! – Comics Domination!

This past year with The Walking Dead continuing its ratings domination, the high profile debut Agent Carter Shortof Agents of Shield, and Arrow getting a good deal of praise as it upped its game, it kind of felt like comics were really taking over TV a little bit, especially with all the gossip about books (and concepts) that were being considered and optioned. But if I’m counting correctly in the next year (or so) we’re looking at about EIGHTEEN NINETEEN ongoing shows adapted from comics (and that doesn’t include three mini-series for Syfy, or the Netflix Defenders mini-series “event”, or the Heroes Reborn nonsense).

That is INSANE. From about three properties to EIGHTEEN NINETEEN?!?

Wow. So very little is known about most these new shows. We’ve seen a trailer for GOTHAM and we got a trailer for CONSTANTINE this week and we’ve seen casting and teasers for a few more shows. Right now, most are big question marks, but based on what we know, let’s take a look at them. To make things more fun, I’ll rate my interest level via the official* Taco Bell Rating System.

SAUCES.

Yes, the Taco Bell Sauce Rating system, you know it, right? If not, here’s the gist: FIRE of course represents “most excited,” HOT is “excited,” MILD is “not so much with the excitement” and ABSENCE OF SAUCE represents “absolute lack of excitement.” Hopefully that rating system will help us all keep from getting too serious, yes?

Let’s start with the existing shows:

AoS Promo

01. AGENTS OF SHIELD (ABC)

Based on: (Loosely) Various SHIELD Comics/Concepts (Marvel)

There’s no show on television I WANT to love more than SHIELD. In fact, when I had to write a spec script for my Manager for an existing show, this is the one I picked. There is so much potential here, but there have also been such high expectations, and those have been hard on the show. That said, in the last half a dozen episodes they’ve really turned a corner and upped the stakes.

HERE BE SPOILERS. It can be hard to root for “the man” on a show like this and our characters kind of straddled that line uncomfortably and I don’t think the show quite knew what to do about it, but the whole Hydra destroying SHIELD from the inside thing has largely taken care of that, so it will make for an interesting second season. Some characters are becoming absolutely awesome: Coulson has always been good, Ward is more interesting than ever (though the show better be careful how they handle all this), and with a few exceptions May has always been layered and interesting, if laconic (check out #mayisms for some fun on Twitter or Tumblr if you’re bored – hilarious). Fitz and Simmons have always been standouts and they just get better and better with each episode. The introduction of Agent Triplett to the team has created some interesting and Hot Ratingunexpected conflicts there (and is a wonderful addition from a diversity point of view). And if you noticed I neglected someone on this list, I was saving our problem child for last: Skye. Skye is one of the biggest Mary Sues I’ve ever encountered in media and it’s really tough to care about her as a character. The writers (and the actress) have done their best to rehab her, but for me, I don’t know that we can ever recover. It doesn’t help that Skye remains (in addition to EVERYTHING ELSE) some kind of magic baby that’s an Alien or some nonsense (Skrull?), which will probably make her even more perfect and annoying. You know you’ve got a character problem when some people at home (me!) are watching the episode and praying really hard that a certain character (ahem, Skye) will be the Hydra traitor. I stand by the idea that Skye as the traitor instead of Ward would have been a far more interesting development. It would have instantly given Skye layers (non-Mary Sue layers) and really subverted expectations. Skye rant aside, is this show as good as it can be? As good as we want it to be? No. But it’s still a pretty good show, and one with infinite potential, especially as the cast is really solidifying into something special. Kelly’s Official Excitement Level: HOT

The Walking Dead Season 5

02. THE WALKING DEAD (AMC)

Based on: THE WALKING DEAD by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, and Tony Moore (Image)

THE WALKING DEAD is a close second when it comes to shows I’m dying to love. Unfortunately, unlike SHIELD I just don’t see consistent improvement in this show. So far — and I get that I’m odd man out, people love this freaking show and it’s a ratings giant — but for me TWD, since season one, has been a show that has two or three brilliant/moving/mind blowing episodes a season and the rest of the season is a slog. I will admit that seasons 2, 3, and 4 are better than the bulk of season 1. And losing some really terrible melodramatic unlikable Mild Ratingcharacters (Andrea, Laurie, and Shane) has helped quite a bit overall.

However, the show is quick to fall back into bad patterns, namely being melodramatic and repetitive and doing far too much telling instead of showing. It’s why Daryl is one of the most popular characters – dude shows who he is through actions, not a lot of terrible repetitive speeches. Frequently the show feels like the people in charge don’t think they have enough content and so they’re trying to slow everything down, but that’s not a good recipe for success – better to push on your characters and continue forcing them to grow.

Then again, I clearly know nothing as this show is obviously a success, it’s a RATINGS MONSTER. Additionally, you’ll note that I haven’t stopped watching it. I did give up in Season 2, but came back when I heard some good changes had been made. The truth is, every time I’m ready to give up TWD hits me with a really wonderful episode that keeps me hanging on. I’m also a big fan of the comics, so there’s both a loyalty thing going on and a curiosity thing going on. I may not like it, but I’m still in. Kelly’s Official Excitement Level: MILD

Arrow-poster

03. ARROW (CW)

Based on: (Loosely) Various ARROW Comics/Concepts (DC)

I tried guys, I really really did.No Sauce Rating

I tried at the beginning and it didn’t work for me for a handful of reasons. I heard through the comics people grapevine that it had really picked up, so I tried again, three different episodes, but it’s just still not for me. I only made it all the way through one of them. I don’t know what my problem is. :(

Part of it might be that the world and characters are complicated enough that you can’t just keep this show on in the background and do something else (I have a few shows that I keep in the rotation like that <cough>Walking Dead<cough>) but it’s not complicated or nuanced enough to keep me engaged if I devote my full attention? I really don’t know.

Maybe because I didn’t watch from the beginning I just don’t have the character investment? I dunno, but I simply cannot connect with it.

I’m out. :(  Kelly’s Official Excitement Level: NO SAUCE

Onto the upcoming shows (in random-ish order)!

Agent Carter Promo Image

04. AGENT CARTER (ABC)

Based on: Various Comics/Concepts related to SHIELD (Marvel)

Obviously this is at the top of my pile and the show that I hope just kills it. It’s got a ton going for it – connection to huge movies, connection to an already existing show that it can talk to in interesting ways (are we gonna have a time travel episode? OMG), and an upcoming movie star that’s Fire Ratingslumming it for TV. And let’s clarify on that before you all jump down my throat. For me, there are actors that can easily transition to film from TV – they have that “special whatever” that gives them the star wattage to make an easy transition, but not everyone can do it. Case in point – though I loved CAPTAIN AMERICA: WINTER SOLDIER, I did not think the Sharon Carter cast (the actress who currently stars in the television show REVENGE) worked in the film. She just didn’t have it. More famous case in point? David Caruso? Hmm. That may have been mean, I should leave Caruso alone.

Anyway. In this case, we’re getting a film actress – Hayley Atwell – who was wonderful in both CAPTAIN AMERICA and in her short (available on the IRON MAN 3 Bluray if you haven’t seen it) so I’m sure she’s absolutely going to kill it on the small screen.

My only qualm is that I don’t always love period pieces, but I can LEARN TO LOVE THEM. And I DO love that old 1990’s drama HOMEFRONT (Swoon! Kyle Chandler!) so maybe I’m wrong about not loving period pieces. I hope this one will be a homerun, especially since it’s one of the few on this list led by a woman.  Kelly’s Official Excitement Level: FIRE

constantine_pilot_nbc-1

05. CONSTANTINE (NBC)

Based on: The HELLBLAZER Comics/Concept (DC/Vertigo)

I have not read all the HELLBLAZER series, but I’ve always like Constantine as a character. This is a Mild Ratingshow I would definitely love to fall for, but the first trailer has me anxious. While there are ways that you can see them trying to be faithful to the HELLBLAZER series – from the very image above, to the Constantine cast – in the looks and accent department at least, to the clothing choices, to the dark grittiness – there are also alarms firing. Where’s the teaser that’s less specific and is full of badass imagery, great goose bump causing music, and small character moments (Constantine only) that piques the interest both of those who know the character and those who don’t?

Instead we got this super long (over three minutes!) convoluted trailer that tried to explain the whole concept and did it really poorly. Wrong. Just tease us with something awesome and worth tuning in for guys, then take an actual episode to explain/hook us.

So, yeah, I’m anxious. Constantine has already been screwed up magnificently on film, I’d hate to see it happen a second time. Kelly’s Official Excitement Level: MILD

iZombie Promo Image

06. iZOMBIE (CW)

Based on: Chris Roberson and Mike Allred’s iZOMBIE (Vertigo)

I have a weird history with iZOMBIE. Despite really loving the concept of the book and Allred’s Fire Ratinggorgeous art, I just never fell in love. I read for maybe 8 issues before I gave up. I was depressed to do so, but I just couldn’t connect with it. So when I first heard this was coming to television I felt kind of mediocre about it.

HOWEVER, having Rob Thomas of VERONICA MARS in charge of it? Well, that’s a horse of a different color, kids. VERONICA MARS, especially the first season is such a great (and underrated) show, totally deserving of its cult status (and movie!). Also, though there are not a lot of details out there just yet, I’ve read in at least one place that this show is LOOSELY based on the comic and since I didn’t love the comic, that might be a good thing. Some of the changes – moving the main character’s job to a hospital instead of a graveyard are definitely smart adaptation choices. They’ve changed the lead character’s name from Gwen to Olivia (aka Liv)…which seems really random. Wonder if we’ll ever get the story on why.

Anyway, in the hands of Thomas, my interest in iZOMBIE went from somewhere around mild straight to FIRE. And again, one of the few shows with a female lead, so fingers crossed!  Kelly’s Official Excitement Level: FIRE

The Flash Promo Image

07. THE FLASH (CW)

Based on: Various FLASH Comics/Concepts (DC)

I’ll give it a try, but given my failure with ARROW I admit I’m not optimistic. ARROW’S world, Mild Ratingfrom the few episodes I’ve seen is very dark (not a criticism) and his costume is this very realistic/modern/urban update from what we have seen in comics in the past and so I’m wondering how they will translate that to THE FLASH, since it exists in the same world…right?

FLASH doesn’t ever feel dark to me, he feels bright and light…so…I guess I have no idea what they’re doing. Maybe I’m wrong though, admittedly I haven’t read a lot of Flash over the years. I liked the New 52 series okay, but over time it didn’t hold my interest enough to keep buying. But even in the super grim and gritty New 52, Flash seemed a bit lighter and brighter.

The promo image released (above) DOES feel bright-ish and light-ish…and not necessarily in sync with ARROW, so I guess we’ll just have to see how well these world’s connect?  I also admit to hesitancy since I know this show will likely crossover with ARROW, which I’m not watching…I know that’s a benefit for most people, but for me it’s kind of another strike against it. Kelly’s Official Excitement Level: MILD

Gotham Promo Image

08. GOTHAM (FOX)

Based on: BATMAN UNIVERSE Comics/Concepts (DC)Fire Rating

Batman is my favorite comic book character, not terribly original, I know. But I’m also a huge fan of the Batman universe in general, and Gotham as a concept specifically, so this is a case of me being really invested and excited, but also super anxious. It’s kind of how when people screw up the X-MEN on screen I can never forgive them, but when people screw up SPIDER-MAN I just go “Oh well.”

My emotional investment is far higher and thus so is the potential for failure.  That said, I like what I’m seeing.

The first trailer is nearly perfect, the cast photo (above) is appropriately stylish and dark (like the trailer), I like the lead actor, I like Donal Logue, the stills I saw of a young Selina Kyle were EPIC, and well, this whole thing has a ton of potential. And I don’t know that I could be more excited (or conversely, more worried, even though SO FAR they’ve given me nothing to worry about). Fingers crossed, kids, fingers crossed!  Kelly’s Official Excitement Level: FIRE

The Walking Dead Spin Off Image

Not an image from the spin off, just an image I liked from the regular series

09. THE WALKING DEAD Spin off Series (AMC) –

Based on: Set in THE WALKING DEAD world and using those concepts (IMAGE)

Mild RatingI am so torn on this puppy. On the one hand, there are infinite awesome character stories to be told in an apocalyptic zombie world. On that same hand, the idea of starting fresh and clean with all new characters and a different non-Atlanta landscape sounds great.

On the other hand, TWD original can only manage a few great episodes a year as far as I’m concerned, so I’m not sure spreading themselves extra thin is a great idea. I mean, it IS a great idea if you like MONEY, because I’m sure this will do well and it gives them a lot of options, including opening themselves up to future crossovers between the two groups, but I remain skeptical.

All that said, as I mentioned above, I continue to watch TWD despite my frustration with it, so I’m sure I’ll be willing to give its new cousin a try too.  Kelly’s Official Excitement Level: MILD

Thief of Thieves Image

10. Thief of Thieves (AMC)

Based on: Robert Kirkman (and Nick Spencer and Shawn Martinbrough) THIEF OF THIEVES (IMAGE/SKYBOUND)

I know almost nothing about THIEF OF THIEVES. Mild Rating

I know that people really like it and it gets good reviews, and that the “high concept pitch” is about a master thief who retires from the game to then begin stealing only from other thieves. Hence…THIEF OF THIEVES.

Seems like a good idea.

Certainly something I’d be willing to check out. Obviously, having not read the book, my emotional investment is low going in, but if I like what I’m seeing as casting and promos begin getting released, this would certainly be worth a shot.

However, despite loving some of AMC’s work (MAD MEN, THE KILLING), AMC plus Kirkman can only get me mildly excited at this point. Kelly’s Official Excitement Level: MILD

Jessica Jones Image

11. AKA JESSICA JONES (NETFLIX/MARVEL)

Based on: JESSICA JONES Comics/Concepts (MARVEL)Fire Rating

Okay, this is our third (and final) project led by a woman and I am OFF THE CHAIN excited about it. I’ve had really good experiences with Netflix – every series of theirs I’ve watched has been pure excellence – ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT, and two seasons of HOUSE OF CARDS. So I know they can do it. Marvel has been smart and brilliant on the film front, and smart and pretty good on the TV front, so putting their heads together SHOULD result in something awesome.

I’ve loved Jessica Jones for a very long time and I think she’s an excellent candidate for television. I personally hope they go with the more private eye version of her than the traditionally superhero-ish, but either can work.

Regardless, I’ve got everything crossed on this one and all my hopes and dreams piled on there. NO PRESSURE THOUGH. Kelly’s Official Excitement Level: FIRE

Iron Fist Image

12. IRON FIST (NETFLIX/MARVEL)

Based on: IRON FIST Comics/Concepts (MARVEL)

I’ll be honest, I’m pretty pumped about ALL of the Netflix/Marvel shows. IRON FIST is the one Hot RatingI’m least excited about but only because I know the least about him as a character and because he seems the most “bright costumed type” of the group, except maybe DAREDEVIL. But the Daredevil character has more name recognition which probably mitigates some of the costume-y stuff that might not work as well on TV as it does in comics.

Is there a way to do IRON FIST right? Absolutely, I’m sure of it. And since these are all being developed in tandem and with one another in mind, I’m sure they’ll speak to one another well, which should hopefully be good for all of the shows (or bad for all of them if something goes wrong of course. Oy. I can’t even think about that).

I’d like nothing more than to fall for IRON FIST…maybe I’ll go read that Ed Brubaker/Matt Fraction/David Aja/Travel Foreman IMMORTAL IRON FIST series that everyone’s always raving about. Yeah. Kelly’s Official Excitement Level: HOT

Luke Cage Image

13. LUKE CAGE (NETFLIX/MARVEL)

Based on: LUKE CAGE Comics/Concepts (MARVEL)

Loooove Luke Cage, and very excited to have a man of color front and center. I’ve been drawing Hot Ratingattention to when women are front and center, but I haven’t talked much about diversity and I have to say, it’s seriously lacking.

Of these 19 properties I’m pretty sure only LUKE CAGE and SCALPED have characters of color as the leads. That’s pretty disappointing, but I’m glad they’re here at least, let’s hope they’re both good and can go the distance ratings and critical reception-wise.

Luke Cage is a great character overall with a lot of interesting stories (and layers) to explore, but I have to admit that given his relationship with Jessica Jones I’m particularly excited to see where the writers are going to take things. The only thing that could make me even more excited? Idris Elba as Luke Cage! I know it’s unlikely Elba would return to TV, and it’s hard to return to TV when your TV was arguably the best show ever on television (THE WIRE) but a girl can dream, and my dream is Idris Elba FOREVER!  Kelly’s Official Excitement Level: FIRE

Daredevil Image

14. DAREDEVIL (NETFLIX/MARVEL)

Based on: DAREDEVIL Comics/Concepts (MARVEL)
We’ve all been burned by Daredevil. It’s hard to wipe the memory of that terrible Ben Affleck movie from our Hot Ratingminds. But like the rest of the Netflix line up, Daredevil is a great “street level” hero and I think there’s a way to really make him work for television hopefully better than he worked on film. In a way, it’s good that the Daredevil film feels so long ago and films based on Marvel properties feel like such different animals these days because it’s comfortable to feel like they can do something different with Daredevil and they’re not carrying that monkey on their back so much that they don’t have to spend all their time distancing themselves from it.

Daredevil has had some really fantastic stories over the last few years especially, a resurgence if you will, and I’d love to see the show bring some of that innovation and creativity.

I confess to some excitement regarding some of the characters that might show up (ELEKTRA!). But like with CONSTANTINE, I would hate to see such a great character be butchered twice, the man deserves better. Fingers crossed, kids. Kelly’s Official Excitement Level: HOT

Scalped Image

15. SCALPED (WGN)

Based on: Jason Aaron and R.M. Guéra’s Comic SCALPED (VERTIGO)

My biggest concern with this is that I don’t know that I’ve EVER watched anything on WGN. In Mild Ratingfact, there were awesome posters all around NYC for WGN’s series SALEM, and yet somehow I never managed to find the damn thing. In fact, I’m not entirely sure I even HAVE the channel (sidebar: I checked, I do have it).

Anyway, in this constant bombardment of media it can be hard to remember to look for something even if you’re interested in it. We tend to get into patterns and easily forget what’s not already in the pattern.

All that to say, I’ve heard amazing things about SCALPED for years, it’s a book long on my “to read” list and I’d be pretty pumped to check this out, but A) having no history with the quality of television WGN produces and B) knowing that it might be a fight to remember to look for it are mitigating my interest level/expectations from Hot down to Mild. Kelly’s Official Excitement Level: MILD

Powers Image

16. POWERS (SONY PLAYSTATION)

Based on: Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming’s POWERS Comics (ICON)

See above re: availability/convenience. I don’t have a Playstation, and though I do have access to a lot of streaming options, I’m certainly not going to pay for just ONE television show, no matter Mild Ratinghow good it is (probably). My excitement for a POWERS TV show, a show I think should be awesome and relatively easy to adapt (though so far it’s proving the opposite) is ridiculously high, but there are things that bring me down to earth with a crash. 1) This show has already (for a variety of reasons) hit a million roadblocks in trying to get off the ground. It seemed like a great fit for FX and they just couldn’t make it happen. 2) The aforementioned access and convenience 3) This is Playstation’s first attempt at original TV content and so I have no ability to know how skilled they are going to be at this new medium and 4) Everywhere I see this show pitched (both when it was at FX and now for Playstation) it’s described roughly as:

Powers follows the adventures of Detective Christian Walker and his dark journey into a world of murder, mystery and superheroes with secrets.”

To which I must say an extreme WTF?!?! Where is Deena Pilgrim from that sentence? Walker is a great character and he absolutely belongs in the “pitch sentence” but a pitch sentence without the words DEENA PILGRIM in it tells me somebody is getting it wrong. WAY wrong. Wrong enough that I wouldn’t touch this with a ten-foot pole.

Still, it’s Powers and I ALL CAPS LOVE POWERS so I’m going to leave it at a MILD rating, rather than “Lack of Sauce” and hope that if Deena is not a co-lead at the outset, she quickly becomes one.  Kelly’s Official Excitement Level: MILD

Preacher Image

17. PREACHER (AMC)

Based on: Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s PREACHER Comics (VERTIGO)

So, along with SANDMAN, likely the most glaring hole in my comics reading is that I’ve never read the entirety Hot Ratingof PREACHER. I know, I know, throw your rotten fruit now, get it out of the way.

I read the first three trades, liked them very much, got sidetracked and somehow never circled back around to finish buying and reading. But I liked what I read and I know how beloved the series is generally, and this seems like a good fit tonally for AMC, so I find myself kinda pumped.

PREACHER has long seemed like kind of an obvious property to adapt (kind of how I feel about Y THE LAST MAN…gods that would be a great series). Anyway, excited to see what a smart team can do with it and this is one I’ll be following closely and seek out for certain just based on the strength of the original property.

I suppose my biggest problem now is that I need to find the cash and the time to circle back around and read the rest before the show comes out. Adding it to the to-do list now! Kelly’s Official Excitement Level: HOT

Letter 44 Image

18. LETTER 44 (SYFY)

Based on: Charles Soule and Alberto Albuquerque’s LETTER 44 comic (ONI)

This is a pretty new book for Oni and I believe they’re only five issues into their run, but it’s being developed as No Sauce Ratinga series, so someone out there loves it! I have not read it and know almost nothing, except that Soule is impressing me over on SHE-HULK (yes, I know that has almost nothing to do with actual LETTER 44, whatever!) So I might check this out. The concept, one that seems to mash together The President, Nasa, and Aliens isn’t bad (kind of reminds me in a basic way of Vertigo’s SAUCER COUNTRY what with the President and Aliens) but whatever. Might be worth checking out.

I’m sometimes skeptical of Syfy, in part, I admit, because of the annoying spelling change to the channel name. Some of the stuff I’ve seen there is really under-budgeted for what’s required and ends up looking bad, but with the right budget and smart writing, there’s no reason that Syfy can’t join the ranks of cable networks killing it with fascinating shows, but I admit that I’m going to hang back on this one. If people are saying good things I’ll try to jump on, but it’s not on my “will check out” list.  Kelly’s Official Excitement Level: NO SAUCE

dmz1

EDITED TO ADD: #19. DMZ (SYFY)

Based on: Brian Wood’s DMZ (VERTIGO)Hot Rating

I can’t believe I missed this one. Chalk it up to not paying enough attention to what Syfy is doing over there and perhaps not taking them seriously enough as an emerging content provider.

But it is a big mistake, because unlike some other properties that I may have missed here, DMZ is one I really like and can totally see working for television, it also happens to be but a show that interests me far more than the other offerings Syfy has picked up (see more on that below) and I like that it’s for a series like LETTER 44, instead of a mini, so this is certainly cool to hear and I am sorry I missed it.

Perhaps most impressive is the caliber of the producers on board who have been intimately involved as producers on the first six seasons of MAD MEN, as well as GRAVITY and HARRY POTTER.  Those are incredible credentials.

This easily warrants a HOT rating, at least. Kelly’s Official Excitement Level: HOT

Lastly, not really comics but possibly worth a mention since it’s superheroes…

Heroes Reborn promo
20. HEROES REBORN aka The Heroes reboot absolutely nobody demanded (NBC)

Based on: Not comics, instead TV’s own attempt at superheroes sans a comics roadmap.

The first season of HEROES blew my damn mind. And my boyfriend’s too, and he’s not one for Half Mild Half No Saucenetwork television. But like me, he has comics (and superheroes) deep in his blood and so we were, like most of the rest of the world, surprised by the quality of HEROES. Season One is excellent.

And then it took a nosedive off a cliff IMMEDIATELY in Season 2 and never recovered (not even close).

I watched I think well into Season 3 before finally giving up…and that was a sacrifice…I can’t unsee some of that shit. So will I watch HEROES REBORN – whatever it ACTUALLY is?

I GUESS I might tune in to see if by some miracle this stand alone 13 episode “maxi-series” could capture the lightning in the bottle of the first season, but my brain literally cannot comprehend it. I’ll give this a special Frankenstein half mild/half no sauce rating. Kelly’s Official Excitement Level – ½ MILD, ½ NO SAUCE!

Syfy Mini Series Image

As if 20 shows based on comics in development were not enough, there are also, as mentioned above, a handful of mini-series being developed right now. Syfy has picked up three comics properties for mini-series – Frank Miller’s RONIN No Sauce Rating(DC), Jonathan Hickman’s PAX ROMANA (Image), and Juan Jose Ryp’s CLONE (Image/Skybound).

CLONE, in concept, is certainly the most interesting to me of the group, but I’d be a lot more likely to check it out if it wasn’t a mini-series. I have to say, I have little to no knowledge of these three original books and I’m not a fan of a mini-series generally (I think DEFENDERS as an event that ties together other shows is a little bit different). Anyway, mini-series rank somewhere just above TV Movies for me. Not saying they can’t be good, just saying I’m skeptical and it’s not my thing. If promos come out and look great, I will certainly change my mind, but for right now I have to list “Official Excitement Level” for all of these (except DEFENDERS) as NO SAUCE.

The Defenders ImageHot Rating

I’m giving the DEFENDERS event mini-series a HOT rating, if only because my interest level in the shows it will be tying together and my confidence in Marvel/Netflix is so high right now.

And what about books that have been rumored to be optioned but we’ve heard no word on? Properties are optioned constantly and nothing ever comes of it, but one that we all heard about that I would really like to see make it to the screen is Terry Moore’s RACHEL RISING. As always, in all these announcement the lady roles are a bit less than I’d like, and RACHEL RISING is chock full of incredibly interesting dominant ladies, and it’s a hell of a horror story.

Which ones are you all excited about? Did I miss any?

*Rating system is in no way ACTUALLY official to Taco Bell (or anyone else except me, I suppose).

94 Comments

Ha! That is “Fantastic!” Very cool rating system! “Sauces” FTW!
I think I am really most excited to see Agent Carter.

The only defense I’ll give Agent 13 (I don’t even think they even called her Sharon Carter once) is that she didn’t have anything to do. I’m sure we shall see more of her in Cap 3.

But i’m pretty excited for Agent Carter as well, the last episode of AoS using the old spy tech is what I wanted from the start, so now I’m getting a whole series on it.

Stephen Conway

May 12, 2014 at 9:47 am

A few comments.

First Arrow and AOS, as they are arguably DC and Marvel’s flagships. While I think both series are deeply flawed, Arrow in the acting department, AOS in the writing department, I find both fun entertainment. AOS only really clicked into gear since the Italy episode. Arrow is a more cohesive show, but a lot of the supporting cast are rather wooden. The Barry Allen episodes were really good so I’m hopeful for the Flash show as a result.

iZombie is leaving me rather cold. I really enjoyed the comic, but turning it into a procedural really seems to be missing the point. Retreading Tru Calling isn’t my idea of an enjoyable show. I liked all the weird elements of the comic, and the supporting cast were fun. I especially like the ghost friend who was modelled on Dan DeCarlo era Betty from the Archie comics. Rob Thomas’s name is the only saving grace.

I agree about Powers. Removing Deena Pilgrim is whack.

Liv as in live. Because she’s a zombie, you see.

@Michael P

That better not be the reasoning. Boo :P

The only shows I plan to watch of this list are the Marvel ones, and of those the ones I’m most excited about are Daredevil and Agent Carter. I don’t know why I’m not more excited about the other Netflix shows, except that I think they’re literally too much for my brain to handle. Like a circuit breaker flips off in my head when I think of FOUR awesome TV shows premiering all at once.

I’ve only heard that secondhand, Kelly, but I believe it completely.

Wow, I didn’t even realize there were going to be so many shows based on comics this coming year. If for anything else, thanks Kelly.
I liked your thoughts on them and if they all come out at roughly the same time, I hope we might see another sauce review on their first few episodes from you.

That is probably the single greatest rating system of all time, although it lacks a level below “No Sauce” that you’ll need eventually.

I am still in with ARROW. It replaced SMALLVILLE as the “I know this isn’t Rocket Science, but I am still having fun” show in my rotation. There is no urgency to keep up, so it is perfect for the occasional mini-binge. However, there is only room in my life for one show like that and THE FLASH seems to be broadcasting on the same wavelength. The actor they cast is fine, but they are going with Geoff Johns take that requires a hard swallow right off the bat.

I don’t trust AGENTS of S.H.I.E.L.D. at all. Joss Wheedon shows always take a while to get going, but damn was it boring until CAPTAIN AMERICA: WINTER SOLDIER shook things up. Ward and Skye were dueling pieces of cardboard. I guess that Mary Sue-ness made Skye slightly worse, but it is a very close call for me. Add some that is affectless by design (Agent May) AND a character that is famous for under-playing things (Agent Coulson) for some long, slow episodes. If they lose the scenery chewing guest stars (BILL PAXTON!), then I am out.

That is my one hesitation with AGENT CARTER. As great as they have been at movies, they are o-for-1 on the TV front so far and that is with one of the greatest show-runners of all-time involved. Still, Hayley Atwell is pretty clearly a star and that is probably enough.

Conversely, THE DEFENDERS project is right in Marvel’s wheelhouse. It is insane in exactly the same way that THE AVENGERS projects was insane. It should be awesome.

Also likely to be awesome is GOTHAM. Ben McKenzie and Donal Logue are like Hayley Atwell: worth watching in almost anything.

iZombie, Preacher and Scalped are all natural TV series. Only iZombie has a show-runner that I know.

At least the CONSTANTINE guy has the right look and accent. That is an improvement, right?

Great, timely article. I agree with almost all of your ratings, except I would flip Shield and Walking Dead. I didn’t make it past the first episode of Shield, though I intended to, but I can’t miss the Dead.

And shame on you for not finishing Preacher!

I kinda get the impression the Netflix Marvel shows aren’t going to be around simultaneously. I get the impression it’s going to be Daredevil, then another, the third and then the fourth and then Defenders, over however many months/years.

Kelly, HAVE YOU SEEN WINTER SOLDIER YET?!?!

We have so many movies and TV shows based on comics these days, that saying that one can’t watch them all isn’t just a matter of being a snob anymore. It’s actually impossible for anyone who holds a job and has a marriage.

I stopped watching SMALLVILLE after Season 8. Yeah, I know. If I watched if for this long, I could very well have watched it through to the end. Someday I will, I promise. I was addicted to TV shows for a couple of years, and for several reasons I then decided to cut back on it a little.

Obviously, having a British Constantine is huge a improvement, but I wonder if the stories will be actually set on England?

Hooray! Someone else remembers Homefront.

I didn’t know Playstation did TV series. (I used to watch DVDs on a Playstation 2, but that’s not the same thing as producing their own.)

Honestly, Arrow while decent has never really been that great fro me over it’s run. That said the last half of the season has gone further downhill (especially with fridging two great female characters) and I’m not sure I’ll be watching next season.

Also want to add that my wife and I are giving Constantine a shot since it’s on after Grimm. Same with Gotham being on before Sleepy Hollow.

Is the Netflix Jessica Jones the same ‘AKA Jessica Jones’ pitched by Melissa Rosenberg (from Dexter)? Because I was really looking forward to that (‘Red Widow’ not withstanding).

All the Netflix series have me excited, but—and maybe I’m just behind the times, or maybe all my experiences with Not-Made-For-TV shows have been with Hulu—I can’t help but be concerned about their quality. Although I’ll readily admit that probably comes from years of being conditioned to follow studio/network produced shows on surfable channels.

Arrow’s an odd beast for me. I never liked Comics Queen, yet I enjoy his CW persona. On the other hand, they nearly destroyed my favorite DC character—and I’m still not happy about Ollie being the one to teach her how to shoot or how to overcome her thirst for vengeance—but it looks like she might actually bounce back. If we get a Birds of Prey spin-off out of it, all will be forgiven. Also, while I’ll be the first to admit the acting’s far from top shelf (we are talking the CW, after all), the writing has been surprisingly solid.

Agents of SHIELD finally turned the corner right after the mid-season break. The first half felt too much like Jed trying to be his big brother, compounded by the characters being stuck in neutral and a lack of any clear antagonistic force. Once they finally got the pieces moving, the show really started to come together. I can’t leave this section without giving a huge Bronx Cheer to the killing of Agent Hand! So: “Boooo!” However if they want to make it up to me, they can add Hill as at least a semi-regular.

It’s nice to find someone who agrees with me on Walking Dead. I want to like it. I try to like it. The potential’s there for some wonderful character arcs. Unfortunately the pacing is sloppy, too many characters have too many Sitcom Stupid moments, and the Ninja Zombies are getting annoying (I swear the things, despite the absence of a functioning frontal lobe, have better planning and timing than vampires or demons). If not for Michonne and Daryl, I think I’d be gone.

Agent Carter is a wild card. When I first heard about it, I was thinking Agent 13, not period piece. Still, of the stuff coming up this fall, Agent Carter seems the most likely to stick with me.

iZombie met with yawns and grumbles of how played out the zombie scene is . . . right up until Ms. Thompson invoked the name Rob ‘Veronica Mars’ Thomas. Maybe I’ll trade zombie shows.

Everything else is strictly nonstarter for me.

Quick answers/comments, I’ll circle back for more detailed ones later!

@Michael P: That is so goddamn stupid. I will choose to overlook it, but man…that is stupid. Do we really need a dumb pun…or whatever that is supposed to be?

@Nicole: The Netflix shows will NOT all come out at the same time. @Fury is correct that Daredevil will be first (and has Drew Goddard of Buffy and Cabin In The Woods Fame is on board as the writer and showrunner) sometime in 2015 and the others will follow. That said, if Netflix/Marvel are smart they will minimize the drag time between the shows. We’ll see!

@Fury: Saw Winter Soldier and LOVED IT. Really wonderful film – if I rated all the Marvel comic book based films of all time (which I may do in the future) it would be either #2 or #3, behind Avengers and maybe behind Iron Man (which I need to watch again to know for sure about).

@Mary: Homefront is THE BEST SHOW. Gods, so good. This is Sony Playstation’s first attempt at original TV content as I understand it.

@Chris: Yes, Jessica Jones is the same as AKA Jessica Jones, sorry, I keep forgetting the AKA, I’ll adjust the piece accordingly. I actually LIKE the AKA so I don’t know why I keep dropping it, weird.

Obviously the bar has to be set high (budget and quality wise) when you’re dealing with comic book/superhero/effects/action based shows, but I will say that all three shows (four seasons of it) that I have watched on Netflix (Orange is the New Black, Arrested Development, and two seasons of House of Cards) have been exceptional from a quality standpoint across the board – great writing and directing, great casting, great budget/effects. Really impressive stuff. I have no reason based on what I’ve seen so far to doubt their ability to deliver on the quality standpoint. Also, all the Netflix shows are shooting in NYC which should give them a huge advantage to feeling authentic to the world (NYC of these characters).

My feelings about Arrow are mixed. It’s kind of dumb, but doesn’t hide that it’s dumb, either on purpose or because the creators are too dumb to hide how dumb their show is. Either way, it works as a well-executed guilty pleasure whose writing is just recycled tropes taped together. I can enjoy it.

Walking Dead however is as dumb as Arrow or even dumber but masquerades as a smart show and even can be borderline pretentious sometimes, and that annoys me so much more. I never made it past Season 1.

The fact that they haven’t chucked Agents of Shield has made me unable to get excited for Carter, and to a lesser extent the other new Marvel shows. Gotham could have been great but the trailer confirms it’s already set in the wrong direction. If Powers ever does get made hopefully that will be a better alternative.

I decided to give Arrow miss for various reasons: it didn’t look that good, reviews, lack of love for the character, lack of time. It doesn’t look much better now, but it’s one of the more appealing programmes on the list. The Flash is up there two, and I know very little about what the show is aiming for.

There are a lot of very promising looking television shows from the past few years I haven’t seen, but only one(Walking Dead) them is on this list. I’d love a great superhero style show, but it seems no one is capable of it.

@ T.

My feelings about Arrow are mixed. It’s kind of dumb, but doesn’t hide that it’s dumb, either on purpose or because the creators are too dumb to hide how dumb their show is. Either way, it works as a well-executed guilty pleasure whose writing is just recycled tropes taped together. I can enjoy it.

To me, the first two seasons of ARROW have been for the Blue States what the first two seasons of SMALLVILLE were for the Red States.

You have a broody protagonist whose preferred method of brooding doubles as fan-service for the ladies. Clark did farm chores and Ollie works on his abs with the bar thingy.

You have the One True Love who (while very pretty) can neither act, nor provide equal opportunity fan service. Still … true love. Lana had the tragic loss of her parents to cover up her limited range for a while. Sadly, even the tragic loss of her sister could not hide the fact that Laurel cannot move her head.

You have the frenemy that brings wit, charm and plot complications. After 70-odd years, the not-all-bad version of Lex that occupied SMALLVILLE was easily the best. Tommy Merlyn was a shocking out in Season 1.

You have the loving, but dysfunctional families. Johnathan and Martha Kent treated their adopted demi-god like a special needs child. Ollie’s mother and sister only speak to one another to lie.

You have a Scooby Gang consisting of a brilliant (and sneaky gorgeous) woman who is harboring a not-so-secret crush on our hero. If it were an anime show, she’d be Miss Fanservice. We also have the black best friend who is two-steps ahead of everything except his own life. The Ollie-Felicity-Diggle group has better chemistry than the Clark-Chloe-Pete group, but that is partly because the story moved faster.

In fact, ARROW moves much faster than SMALLVILLE in general. It was four seasons before Lois Lane showed up and changed the romantic dynamics (and it wasn’t until about S6 that she seemed the character with which we were familiar). ARROW dropped Black Canary in fully formed in Season 2.

I don’t have strong feeling on everything, but the ones I do:

SHIELD – Absence of Sauce
Arrow – Hot
Agent Carter – Fire
Constantine – Absence of Sauce
The Flash – Fire
Gotham – Absence of Sauce
AKA Jessica Jones – Mild
Iron Fist – Hot
Luke Cage – Hot
Daredevil – Fire
Powers – Mild

SHIELD has just been abysmally, unforgivably bland in every department. The characters suck, the storylines suck, everything, everything sucks. I have zero hopes. My hopes, they have been dashed.

Arrow Season 2 has been fantastic. I don’t know what three episodes you checked out Kelly, but as I’m sure you’ve been told, you are missing out. I’d say just force yourself to watch the entirety of Season 2 for your own good, but your SHIELD sauce is hot, so I think our tastes are mismatched.

HAYLEY ATWELL. WEEKLY. PERIOD SETTING. SPY-FI. ZODIAC ‘N SHIT. POSSIBLE DUM-DUM AND STARK BANTER. Agent Carter already has everything SHIELD doesn’t and more. I don’t want to get too hyped, but i’re probably too late.

Constantine and Gotham look like bad jokes. Fan films. Dire. With any luck they’ll be cancelled before they embarrass themselves further.

The Flash is going to be the greatest superhero television show since Arrow. At least until one of those Netflix Marvel shows strikes gold.

ARROW is just horribly dull and boring. I’d say AGENTS OF SHIELD is just as bad though.

Apparently it’s just me, but the producers already being on record that they want to get to Joker in GOTHAM has me extremely dubious. Gotham Central (which is what I wish this show was, but that’s neither here not there) definitely proves you can do a great Joker story without Batman, but a Joker origin without Batman? I’m not so convinced. Besides which, giving the joker a definitive origin is always a bit hit or miss. Particularly given that there is an interesting and established crime empire in Gotham before Batman, already aiming to bring in Joker is not what I want to see from this show.

That said, the announcement today that Renee Montoya was added as a series regular is great. I love Renee, I love the idea of an openly gay character as part of a major superhero network show, and it puts us one step closer to Gotham Central. I’m less enthused that she’s now Jim’s age and not Harvey’s partner, since I love their traditional dynamic, but still, very exciting if she’s handled well.

Your rating system didn’t do it for me, I’m not to fanboyistic, but since it is your opinion, I think is only fair to point out what I disagree with.

Arrow’s fundamental concept is based on one fave DC character: Batman. That show is Batman-esque. If Batman is your favorite character, how can you not like Arrow, considering that show is taking concepts from the batman mythos? Could it be that is because of Green Arrow that you find the show unwatchable, and being too dark does not stereotypically represent who Arrow is to you? I just don’t understand. Part of what makes Arrow a successful series is because of that dark feel to it, psychologically driven. That’s right many in the comic book community prefer Arrow over Agents of Shield.

I notice you gave both women shows a “hot” rating. Of course, this is a favoritism thing. I’m not gonna blame you for it. Just as how much I like Arrow and you do not balances out our gender preferences, respectively speaking. For me, Agent Carter is interesting because of Richard Stark. He is not going to be a big player like Agent Carter, but if Richard Stark does in fact get to play a bigger role, physically, then it will have potential. I personally like Jessica Jones than Agent Carter. Because unlike Agent Carter, Jessica Jones will be an original character in her own right, not having to be remembered for being in ‘X’ or in ‘X’ crossovers. Netflix is a good fit for her, and having her social developmental process play out will work wonders when she joins The Defensers. In my eyes, part of joining the team signifies her as an independent figure, as oppose to Agent Carter, who will need to rely on her supporting cast to make it work(a la, her universe).

I don’t care about The Flash, Preacher, Ronin, IZombie to name a few, I don’t even watch The Walking Dead(Im in the minority when it comes to watching TV, so don’t take it personally). I agree with you on Gotham, and on The Winter Soldier(100%) but I disagree with you on Constantine. Based on that logic, you don’t read any Batman comic books but like the character, say for example. Do you think Constantine should just follow what Batman can accomplish in a minute? Only if it were that easy. Both the Gotham and Constantine trailers did its job. And Constantine airing on Friday’s? Is a perfect timeslot.

Just small disagreements, psychologically speaking. But we all have different tastes.

Watching Arrow from the beginning will not help.

Russell Jones

May 12, 2014 at 5:33 pm

I really could think of better comics to use for TV……Sgt. Rock would be a great one as it could follow 3 or 4 wars
or even a lot of “independent” stuff that would work well.

Agents of SHIELD’s poor reception had little to do “high expections,” and everything to do with it being one of worst written non-soap non-reality shows on broadcast television. Anyone turning in scripts that bad for a show like NCIS or CSI would have been fired. Expectations and the Marvel name are the only reason people watched the show.

@Franky:

Sorry you don’t like my hilariously awesome rating system.

I think my issue with Arrow is more about execution – writing and acting – than it is about concepts they may be employing.

And yes, of course my interest level is piqued on series starring women as I’m a woman and I enjoy great women characters, especially in my comics. But you know, I’ve spent nearly 5 years writing about this issue here, so I would think that was a given at this point…guess not.

I don’t understand what you’re trying to say about Constantine.

@Eamon: HA!

Arrow makes camp feel highbrow.

So much comic book goodness, though!

I enjoyed Orange is the New Black, Arrested Development, and House of Cards as well.

But you want some proof that Netflix is totally capable of putting out a really shitty original series? Watch Hemlock Grove. It’s produced by Eli Roth. And it’s baaaaaad. It’s basically a series that can’t decide if it wants to be Twilight or True Blood, so it settles for some weird space in between the two, and it just doesn’t work.

It’s too bad you can’t get into Arrow. I didn’t like the first season, but I think the second season has been very good. The slow, careful development of Deathstroke as a villain is what really won me over.

Other than that, I’d say that my feelings on these shows are pretty similar to yours, except that I’ve read Preacher from beginning to end, and I’m simultaneously excited/terrified by the prospect of a TV adaptation. I like doing it on TV rather than a movie (which was long rumored), because the comic is an excellent example of long-form storytelling and better suited for TV. And while I agree that Walking Dead is frustratingly slow, I still enjoy it, usually…kind of… I really want to, but god that show is flawed.

@Wes:

Yeah, I mean, to be honest, Hemlock Grove (what I know of it) is probably closer to the superhero stuff we’re talking about than OITNB, AR, or HoC…but I’m choosing (perhaps wrongly) to believe the badness of HG is related to Eli Roth more than anything else. I could be wrong, but Roth has not done anything that’s “in my wheelhouse” so I’m not surprised that HG isn’t either, y’know?

you could have saved time and just said “CBR’s Marvel sponsorship deems everything Marvel is Hot Sauce”.
TWD only a mild. whatever…

@sprial:

Yeah, you’re right. I totally didn’t spend a lot of time talking specifically about why certain things excite me or worry me and why. I definitely should have just run to the bank to cash my “Marvel Shill Check”.

CUE MY MOST INTENSE EYEROLL EVER.

@Kelly Thompson

I’m totally on board with blaming Eli Roth for as many bad things as possible.

And I’m trying to picture what an “intense” eye roll would look like. Most of the images are disturbing.

I can’t agree more about TWD. I enjoy the show, make it appointment viewing if only to make sure I’m in on the conversations at work the next day. But the biggest problem I have with the show is the repetitiveness of speeches, characters going in cycles (Rick doesn’t/does want to lead; gives up leadership; acts as leaders; doesn’t/does want to lead; repeat). It wasn’t until the end of the most recent season that Rick actually seemed like a character that was active in his own life. The most interesting characters (Daryl, Carol, and now Beth) are relegated to speaking-points for Rick to go against. It contains some of the most stilted characters that can only exist in relation to one singular character (Rick) who isn’t even an agent in his own narrative.

The Marvel Netflix shows might just motivate me to sign up for Netflix.

@Dean:

Wanted to circle back to your great comments. We’re pretty much agreeing on SHIELD I think, close enough at least. If they could ditch Skye I’d be in a pretty good place with it, knowing what’s on the horizon for them. I would also say that Buffy (as an example since we’re in a Whedon world) always performed best with less “monster of the week” type episodes, and I think the last 6 or so episodes of SHIELD are proving that to be true for them as well. But that may just mean I’m FINALLY attaching to the characters (beyond Fitz Simmons who I was always smitten with).

Agent Carter will also have the advantage of a Richard Stark supporting role (I’d hope) and that plus all the old fashioned spy toys should make for really fun television. Also, an aspect of SHIELD that has not worked well for me/for the show in general is the ability to kind of “make up tech” whenever they need to. I don’t think AG will have that problem. And I reiterate again…possibility of some kind of time travel episode so that the shows can cross over? Probably not, but a girl can dream.

Agreed on Constantine. It at least looks like they’re trying, unlike the movie. Which, to be honest, isn’t actually a BAD movie, it’s just not really Constantine.

I cannot believe – as you laid it out to T. – how exact a Smallville template Arrow is following…but I guess that makes sense for me, because I was never into Smallville either. I guess that template doesn’t gel for me! :(

Suggestions for a rating below “Absence of Sauce”? Maybe “Negative Sauce”? Hmm…this is going to need work.

@T.
I agree that part of the problem with TWD is that it thinks it’s brilliant…and it’s just not.

@dnwilliams:
Except for Agent Carter it sounds like we’re too far apart. Nothing about Arrow appeals to me but I feel SHIELD has turned a corner. I thought the preview for Gotham looked great, but nothing about Flash has intrigued me as yet. Constantine looks problematic but, as I said, I’ll check it out. Different strokes, different folks and all that I guess.

@Will H:
I didn’t read that about Gotham/Joker, but maybe they mean it in the same way that they’re seemingly introducing a lot of characters (including villains) from the Bat mythos – they’ve got Riddler and Penguin, a young Ivy and Selina…I’ll give them some rope to hang themselves. :)

Shield is going ok. I think next season will be better. But as it seems I prefer 12 episode series.
I’m very interested in Agent Carte, Constantine, Gotham, the whole Defenders thing, Scalped and Preacher. However for some reason I am more confident for Constantine and Gotham. I also fear about Preacher… Can this be actually adapted on TV? Also all three mini series from syfy are great choises.

In any case I just wait for a Moon Knight TV series.

Flash – Fire

Gotham – Hot

Constantine – Hot

Arrow – Hot

Daredevil – Mild

DMZ – mild

Everything else = no sauce

I’m sure my excitement for Daredevil, Defenders, etc will raise once we actually see something.

But what I’ve seen from Flash, Gotham, and Constantine looks very exciting. Can’t wait for Fall.

I do not understand the love of The Walking Dead beyond the first season. Its character are walking plot points. Almost everyone is fucking stupid on that show. It feels like the writers write their major awesome season moments first and then write out from there. I just don’t understand the popularity. It is not smart writing at all nor no I feel like it’s must see TV. It constantly feels like the same crap over and over. I have the same feeling with SHIELD. I find it to be Batman and Robin corny and Smallville level production. Atleast Angel and Buffy had decents stories. SHIELD is just so meh in every aspect.

re: Hella. how can you bring something back, that never went away?

Not a bad rating system, just disagree with most of the ratings. Like Arrow a lot, wanted to like AOS but never got into it. Some raters sound like someone who collects comic runs to be completist.

This is based on comments like it finally turned around after the Italy episode or something. If a show, comic, song or any form of entertainment doesn’t grab my attention in the beginning, which by the way is their job, I don’t waste my precious time sticking around to see if it’ll get better. AOS and some of the other may be going good now, but given the continuity mantra most of the shows have, I won’t grab onto it.

Hope all are successful because it opens the door for other comic adaptation.

@Kelly

Based on your Facebook post the other day, I was not surprised by this. And I think I was flippant or redundant when I responded there, maybe both with some jerky for spice (I can usually tell, because people ignore me when I sound some flavor of annoying…so a lot). I thought my response here would be a quick thumbs up…since I, at least, didn’t like what I said the other day.

However, I read this and have some thoughts on each. So not because I will be ranty, but because It’s a substantial list this may be my usual long winded response. Easy to ignore…your welcome…I know you and like… nobody has time for this…this is just talk therapy for me. So to edit, I will use your drunk covers rules. Not on drinking…since I support CBR civility…but on brevity.

A few bias to consider in my matrix of contextual subjective aesthetic fantasy cultural storytelling opinions.

1: I LOVE LISTS.

2: I rank Media Arts in this order of interest (and personal knowledge) this way; Comics, Music, Film, Television and everything else (books to gaming).

3: I do think some “TV” have been the highlight of Visual Storytelling in the 21st century; Mad Men, Venture Brothers, No. 1 Detectives Agency, Freaks & Geeks, Shaun The Sheep, Shameless, Adventure Time, Bored To Death, The Wire, Newsroom, Breaking Bad, Dexter, Treme, Game of Thrones, Carnivàle, Homeland, Battleship Galactica, United States of Tara, The Killing, The Good Wife, Girls, Six Feet Under, Orange is the New Black…On and on!

4: None of these show, we are focused on, converting from Comics to “TV,” come close to that level. They aren’t even Craft Corner Death Mach, Match Game or Justice League Unlimited level. So my own ranking will say “FIRE,” but think, “oh dang it my marshmallow is on ‘fire,” level blazing inferno.

5: I could make a good argument using Comics (From Clowes to Vaughen/Staples to Fraction/Aja) or Film (Wes Anderson…bamb!) to argue those mediums are kicking butt with their use of Visual Lexicons to tell stories.

6: I rank in general terms my interest in these projects, based on my comics taste like this; Indy (“real” Indy…Ghost World, not Kick Ass), Marvel, Underground (like Max Clotfeltter), DC and Populist Indy (Image ect…)…but again all a preferred medium to motion pictures).

7: I basically agree with the details of your assessment, have no idea or will share strong opposition.

Anyhoo:

01. AGENTS OF SHIELD (ABC) (Marvel)

It’s funny, though improved, I still think of this show as the worst show I make time for…I don’t have a lot of time. I also wish better things for the show, but have lowered my expectations in the A-Team to Smallville ballpark level. This has made it feel amazing, when it’s just mediocre.

Ben’s: Mild

02. THE WALKING DEAD (AMC) (Populous Indy)

I could not stand the Comic. My wife and I both enjoy the show, despite NOT liking many characters (Daryl, Glen, Michonne are the only ones I like). However, the quality of storytelling and narrative falls dangerously close to Revolution at times.

Ben’s: Mild

03. ARROW (CW) (DC)

Also funny, I compare this show to SHIELD…watching them back to back…and it almost always wins me over. It’s not a good show, it just has a more charismatic star. I like Marvel over DC in general and Marvel’s approach to their film properties (which SHIELD is a direct offshoot of) over DC’s; definitely their TV live action approach as of late (Smallville). Yet, I have always liked Green Arrow and Seattle…er…Star City (the idea of it). “I have no logical explanation for it,” but I prefer this show.

Ben’s: Mild

04. AGENT CARTER (ABC) Marvel

Here we may agree, but because we don’t know much yet…

Ben’s: Hot

05. CONSTANTINE (NBC) (Vertigo)

Ugh…just don’t care…at all. So it can only be up from there.

Ben’s: No Sauce

06. iZOMBIE (CW) (Virtigo)

I don’t care about this either. I have learned to LOVE Allred, and I guess I like Zombies, but I have not been exposed enough to some of the other intangibles. That said, I am not hostile to the idea…so…

Ben’s: Mild

07. THE FLASH (CW) (DC)

I was indifferent to the his casting on Arrow. I want to LOVE the flash, but always fall short of a connection. So this won’t change that relationship one bit.

Ben’s: Mild

09. GOTHAM (FOX) (DC)

I like, but again don’t love Gotham or the Batman side of DC. So we are not on the same page. The only acceptation is Batwomen; you convinced me to check it out…and I couldn’t be happier…of course you had me at J.H. Williams III art. It was yours and Sue’s interview with Scott Snyder and his focus on the history of Gotham and it’s architecture as a character in his plot that made me read Batman the regular series for the first time on purpose (it happens on accident often). However, my understanding of the pitch for this show seems to focus on aspects I don’t care for. I remain open though.

Ben’s: Mild

10. THE WALKING DEAD Spin off Series (AMC) (Image)

I am now a huge propionate in long form Comics series to contain time realistically and than each year allow freedom to creative teams or Cartoonist revisit, freshly interpret and provide new perspectives. I mean, how old is Batman, REALLY!!! This has that flavor, but with TV, the overhead is so high, the space for quality to limited and audience so big…let’s just give another story a chance to shine (more on this at the end).

Ben’s: No Sauce

11. Thief of Thieves (AMC)

Well..,OK. Be carful what you ask for perhaps.

Ben’s: Mild

12. AKA JESSICA JONES (NETFLIX/MARVEL)

I have not been confronted with “the” Jessica Jones Comic that makes me care, but Kelly’s words (again), Netflix and Marvel track records noted…I am all in.

Ben’s: Fire

13. IRON FIST (NETFLIX/MARVEL)

I understand the character more than ever and still have not read Aja’s run (I am a huge fan of Hawkeye). So this character is kinda “Eh” again. But like Jones…well almost…

Ben’s: Hot

14. LUKE CAGE (NETFLIX/MARVEL)

Again, have not read a solid Luke Cage comic, but I have always wanted to LOVE him. This is the best chance I have been confronted with. I am unclear on the stage of casting, but either way, Idris Elba or the other roomer I heard Terry Crews would make this a…

Ben’s: FIRE

15. DAREDEVIL (NETFLIX/MARVEL)

I have been burned before, but…: I am a Daredevil Comic fan, but even there it is based on limited exposure. Some of my favorite Comics (not just Marvel) have been Daredevil, but I only read them if I am confident in the quality of the experience. I have heard some amazing Casting suggestions and again…the production situation is as ideal as we get these days. So yeah…

Ben’s: Fire

16. SCALPED (WGN) (Vertigo)

I like the writer of the Comic very much, I started the series, but was not compelled to continue. I wasn’t repelled either…so it could be great for all I know.

Ben’s: Hot

17. POWERS (SONY PLAYSTATION)

This could be fine, but the Comic never hooked me.

Ben’s: No sauce

18. PREACHER (AMC) (Vertigo)

One of my college roommates, another Cartoonist, LOVED!!!! this Comic. Amazing guy, solid Cartoonist, but sometimes our taste didn’t jive (great thing for Comics…diversity). I didn’t love the art and don’t love religious tales…no mater the perspective. So I never got into it. Not sure how a show will help me.

Ben’s: No Sauce

19. LETTER 44 (SYFY) (ONI)

I know nothing.

Ben’s: No Sauce

#20. DMZ (SYFY)

Ugh…I never followed you into the DMZ world…and ugh…never mind. I just don’t care. Maybe I should!?

Ben’s: No Sauce

21. HEROES REBORN aka The Heroes reboot absolutely nobody demanded (NBC)

Tottally…

Ben’s: No sauce.

Mini’s!? Now we are talking!!!!

– Frank Miller’s RONIN (DC)

I know, we are all supposed to hate Miller…but I have liked him more or less every time (hypocrite) and he is a Vermonter…plus Ronin was an odd duck comic. So…

Ben’s: Fire

Most of these others I don’t know about and don’t care…but:

DEFENDERS

I LOVE THIS APPROACH…do I wish it was it was a story about just about anyone who appeared in the Comic…hell yeah…especially Valkarie…but I will take this…especially if it takes the idea that random people just live in a house together and happen to be superheores. I love the domestic side and will be disappointed if that odd for superhero dynamic is not represented.

Ben’s: FIRE

As for our imaginations and rumor (some of the above could shove off to make room for):

Terry Moore’s RACHEL RISING WOULD BE A FIRE!!!!

If I didn’t think it would ruin the entire world I would suggest, both the main worlds in Love and Rockets or Hawkeye (Faction/Aja). And if Stumptown wasn’t already done twice (The Killings & Twin Peeks).

So instead:

Saga on SYFY, Lazarus on AMC, Minimum Wage on HBO, DP7 by the people who made Top of the Lake, The Wake…

Strike that, Netflix should make it all…so I can binge!

Someone needs to make a Tom Strong movie…I kinda think it should be the entire cast and production staff of Flash Gordon and Gray Stoke from the 80′s….plus some actual diversity and good writing.

Here is my Geek Fanboy Superhero pitch:

An X/Mutant show, but focused on “real” outcasts of society, diversity, poverty and pride. Set 25 years ago (because I LOVE PERIOD PIECES) in the 1980′s, Storm has just become the leader of the Morlocks and there is conflict from SKIDS, who can’t be altered, because of her shield. There can be other stories and guests from the marvel universe, but ultimately it should just be about the people living in the sewers…by choice!?!

That’s all folks.

Andy E. Nystrom

May 12, 2014 at 7:32 pm

One problem with Skye as Hydra is that she was already a spy for Rising Tide earlier on in the season. If she was a spy for Hydra as well, audiences would be sarcastically saying Skye must be a member each time another enemy group showed up. Plus, compound her alien connections and previous Rising Tide affiliation further with the Hydra angle and you’d end up with a character close to as convoluted as Wolverine.

I’m glad it was Ward only because he was previously the only character that didn’t really interest me much, so now I’m pretty interested in everyone. I thought the episode where he more or less came out (which to me was when he shot the fake Clairvoyant, not when he shot Hand) was quite well done. Once he did that I figured he had to have a tie to the actual Clairvoyant, but it was shocking when it happened.

I would be excited for Gotham if they did time jumps between seasons and Bruce was Batman by the third or fourth season.

I just really want a weekly Batman series. He’s a character that demands serialization, and not a movie every three or four years.

He has a great supporting cast, but there is only so much you can do with them without Batman in the mix.

Also I was really enjoying what AoS was doing with Ward until last week’s episode. Those flashback scenes felt ripped out of a YA novel about a teen living in the wilderness. Did he spend the entire time in the woods with symbolism dog? “Congratulations, you have been accepted to SHIELD Academy. Your credits from Forest University transferred over.” But they did succeed in making me actually refer to him as Ward and not “Agent Agent” as I had been.

Excited for Agent Carter. The excellence of Captain America 2 and that announcement made me retroactively like Captain America 1 better.

I’m really not trying to be a d–k, and I hope it’s just because I’m high right now, but the main thing I got out of this column is that you haven’t read Sandman, Preacher, Scalped, Brubaker and Fraction’s Iron Fist, Hellblazer, etc. I’m stunned.

Just chiming in to say that Hemlock Grove is awesome! Its second season is the reason I will resubscribe to Netflix this July. Hopefully the Marvel Netflix series will be as good.

I am excited for Gotham. To some extent, I love Batman’s supporting characters even more than him, so this show is right up my alley.

Also excited for Constantine but somewhat cautious—I feel like it could be easily screwed up.

I hope Agent Carter is good, but I detest Agents of SHIELD, so I am very nervous about it.

The last live-action superhero show I truly loved was Lois and Clark. We need more shows like that.

Also, not looking forward to the Flash, mainly because *my* Flash is Wally West, not Barry. That’s one of the reasons I can’t get into Arrow—-my Green Arrow is Connor Hawke, not Oliver Queen. Arrow also tries too hard to be dark and gritty, and it’s a real turn off that the show got rid of the “Green” part of “Green Arrow”. The fact that Flash has such a bulky, muted costume is not a good sign, either. DC seems to revel in darkness these days, when in fact there is a whole audience out there for actual fun stuff that they’ve alienated.

@ Kelly Thompson:

The challenge for these sci-fi/fantasy/spy-fi/superhero shows is that they require a LOT of characters to make them go. When BUFFY was hitting its prime, you had Buffy, Angel, Giles, Willow, Xander, Oz, Cordelia and season long Big Bads like Spike and Druscilla or Faith and the Mayor. That is nine characters per season with seven of them in the “regular” cast. ANGEL rode a little lighter for a while, but had Angel, Wesley, Gunn, Lorne and Fred in the regular cast with 2-3 recurring baddies every season. SMALLVILLE rode in with eight characters: Clark, Lana, Pete, Chloe, Jonathan, Martha, Lex and Lionel. It wasn’t as smart with Big Bads (and you could argue the main cast was too big). Battlestar Galactica eight characters that appeared in 95% (or more) of its episodes. LOST also had eight characters that appeared in the same percentage (and ITS series-long Big Bad didn’t turn up until halfway through the 2nd season).

It is almost a rule nine.

That should be awesome news from a diversity standpoint. You can create create the entire cast of a 1970s-80s action-adventure show (stoic white guy hero, sardonic and slightly more ethnic white guy sidekick, superhumanly beautiful white female love interest) and you aren’t half-way done with your cast. You can add (for example) a couple black characters, an Asian character, a gay character (or two) and STILL have room for your Big Bad and someone for the Big Bad to have a conversation with.

The problem is that these characters actually have to be memorable beyond their demographics and the cast needs chemistry.

Chemistry is the Iron Law of TV. You have to want to hang out with the core group on a show. That is why it is pointless to try to talk someone into a show. TV might be a writer’s medium, but no one can manufacture chemistry that appeals to you. I like Ollie, Diggle and Felicity. I am in with them wherever they go. I was in with Kent family on SMALLVILLE (and ‘out’ on the show when John Schneider left). I was ‘In” with Walt and Jessie on BREAKING BAD. I was “In” with McNultty, Bunk and Daniels on THE WIRE. I am “In” with Don, Roger and Peggy on MAD MEN. I can’t explain why I am “In” on certain ships and bromances and not others. I just am. For example, Don & Peggy is the first cross-gender bromance that I have ever seen and I care. The actors have me and the writers can do what they want.

AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. doesn’t have a sub-grouping of characters that I am “In” on. Coulson and May are close, but ….

On the rating system, ketchup is the least spicy salsa and seems kinda gross on tacos. That would be worse the “No Sauce”.

Quoted from the thread created for this article

“kalorama

Might wanna change the thread title, since there are no actual grades being given out. Grading implies judging/rating the actual product which is impossible, given that the vast majority of these shows haven’t even been cast or started shooting yet, let alone actually aired. It’s a recounting of the author’s speculative interest level in upcoming properties, which is fine, but the title suggests something else (and kind of does a disservice to the author’s actual intention).

Has the world learned nothing from the “Mr. Reliable” debacle?”

Arrow should have been rated Verde sauce.

Hehehe I love the Taco Bell sauce rating system. In an odd personal coincidence, I just ate at Taco Bell earlier today for the first time in like two years. I’m still reeling from it nine hours later! Ugggghhhhhh Taco Bell tummy…

I don’t have much enthusiasm for any of these shows, mostly because I don’t have cable and I don’t follow many TV shows. I like binge watching The Walking Dead whenever they add it to Netflix. But that’s about it. I tried Arrow and I wasn’t feeling it at all. Same with SHIELD.

I’m curious to see how they rework the concept of the Defenders to fit DD, Jess, Luke, and Danny (as opposed to the cosmic-mystic-fantasy lineup that’s traditionally been the Defenders in the comics). But I’m not especially interested in watching the shows. I more wanna see how they costume the characters and present their world.

I guess the one exception for me is iZombie, which has a really great concept. I’ve never read the comics, though, so I don’t have any affinity for the characters. But the idea sounds boss! I like the hospital angle, which promises lots of weirdness.

A rating lower than “no sauce”?

“Cheque please!” (Or “Check please!” for the Americans.)

I think Agent Carter sounds like the best of what’s coming up. I’d expect the level of crossover we might get between that and SHIELD is Carter chasing artifacts that get lost to time then turn up in the modern day SHIELD show. I also think they’re gearing up towards revealing that the Marvel world does indeed have ‘magic’. I would assume some of the ‘case of the week’ things that Agent Carter tracks down would be leftover Nazi magical macguffins, joining the multitude of movies, shows and conspiracy nuts in the belief that Hitler looked left, right and down his pants to find arcane weapons to turn the war in his favour.

They’ve mentioned Stephen Strange already in the second Cap film as a ‘person of interest’ and I wonder if they might try and find a way to do a reverse – introduce him in one of the TV shows, then do a movie.

Also, Ward needs to stay evil, and I didn’t like Skye at the beginning, but she’s gotten more interesting. It’s definitely better now after the Winter Soldier tie in, except for that last ‘Ward is Literally a Ward’ episode. That was terrible. The flashbacks mean they’re trying to humanise him, justify him, and therefore heading for some kind of redemption, while the modern day scenes seemed to spin their wheels.

With the comics, Marvel are always trying to manufacture mystery where there is none, and they do it on this show too. They need to stop being deliberately obtuse where characters talk directly about the secrets but in a way that gives you nothing.

@Dean: We have a winner. Ketchup is indeed lower than “No Sauce” when you’re talking Mexican Food. I wish I could send you a no prize. :)

Also, your thoughts on the Eight Character rule are both dead on and have made me deliriously happy (I’m writing a pilot spec right now with 8 “leads” and I was worried it was too many. Wrong again, Kelly, it’s PERFECT.) ;)

@Caanan: I’d love to see Stephen Strange show up…anywhere! Well, anywhere except as the lead in a new Marvel film. Not that I’m anti a Strange film, but not before Black Widow or Captain Marvel (Carol).

@Nick: Well, the good news for you is that I’m sure costumes and some world building type stuff will be readily available even if you don’t watch the shows. Sidebar: Taco Bell is my fast food of choice, but living in NYC fast food is almost never a convenient option so we rarely have it. I think it’s only on road trips that I get “the Bell.” Second sidebar: I owe you some pilot spec scripts!

@Eamon: I agree on the flashback stuff on AoS, that was maybe the worst thing they’ve done ALL SEASON, which says a lot. The dog thing was so forced and obvious. And setting Ward up for redemption is a HUGE mistake. Short of literal mind control or torture brainwashing (and I don’t mean the long term selective conditioning we saw) there is no redemption for Ward as far as I’m concerned. I know Whedon’s shows have been magnificent at turning around bad guys and redeeming them (Angel, Spike, Anya) but this is a very different animal. In those cases we’re dealing with supernatural lack of souls and such. Ward has no such excuse…unless he does…but even if he does, it will get the serious side eye from this viewer.

I like your take on Gotham, though I worry about a Batman on TV…I dunno. I would love it, but I have doubts about the execution. Gotham might be a way to have our cake and eat it. We’ll see how it shakes out once it starts up!

@miklonus: Yeah, I don’t write up what they put on the CBR front page or the in the threads. No control. I don’t think it’s a huge issue though.

@Andy E. Nystrom: Eh. I don’t think Skye as Hydra and Rising Tide is a problem. You just say she was Hydra all along, even when she was Rising Tide. That’s actually great cover. Who expects a Hydra agent to be buried within a hacker/freedom campaign.

@Joe C.: I don’t think you’re a dick, but you’re summarizing badly. This would be more accurate: I have not finished Preacher or Hellblazer, I have mostly read nothing of Scalped or Sandman, barring a few issues here and there. And I have not read any of Immortal Iron Fist. There’s A LOT of comics out there, man. You want to compare reading lists? I’m up for it if you are.

@Ben: All good and reasonable thoughts. Thank you for sharing. I did see your FB post…sorry I didn’t respond, I’m so rarely on there. I didn’t take offense or anything though.

Regarding your TV Pitch, trust me when I say, if you are not already reading Deadly Class, you need to do so, immediately. It may be lacking in “powers” but it’s got a lot of things there that you’re interested in, including the period setting. It’s pretty interesting.

Who is “Richard Stark”? Tony’s dad’s name is Howard.

@the Dagman:

Ha! Right you are! Someone else wrote Richard in the comments and I just wrote it without thinking.

Yeah, that Iron Fist series by Brubaker/Fraction/Aja is awesome. Aja’s art made it for me. He reminds me of David Mazzucchelli with a more graphical-sense. Great series. One of my top-ten Marvel stories because it felt so damn fresh at the time.

Everyone’s complaining about how awful the Constantine movie was, but I feel like the current DC Constantine series is such a drastic departure from what Hellblazer was, I’m looking back on the Keanu Reeves movie as a fair interpretation of the character. Hellblazer comics were always paced like mysteries, not necessarily whodunits, but “how will he get out of this one?” And the movie had that! Sure, Keanu isn’t a great actor, and he was American and not blonde… but those are details, people! I feel like complaining about those changes is pretty much the same as complaining about a black Johnny Storm (although yes, naturally, there is a far more valid reason for that change). The essence of the supernatural conman, the guy who tricked demons into taking care of his cancer for him, was there in the movie. Yes, there was some ill-advised and out of character shotgun action there, but that is nothing compared to what he is doing in DCU now, battling superheroes with magical rays coming out of his hands. Not only are the comics super busy both visually and plot-wise, I’m just incapable of caring about what happens to the character, because I know he’ll just come up with some spell or something that fixes everything – and unlike superpowers, which at least traditionally have (relatively) clear definitions and limits, I can’t even try to anticipate what will happen or what clever combination of the pre-determined powers will be used to escape the devilish death-trap. The DC Constantine will just say some made-up words, and the situation will be fixed, which is the opposite of drama. The tv trailer actually looks really close to the movie, and at this point I couldn’t be happier with that. I’m sooo starved for good Constantine stuff, I’ll take mediocre – although similarly to how you feel about Gotham, if they screw up the character and make him a mega-wizard, I’ll be mega-pissed.

@Dagman & Kelly Thompson: Richard Stark might sound familiar because it was Donald E. Westlake’s pseudonym for the Parker novels. It seems only fitting that a guy named Stark writing about a guy named Parker would make an accidental appearance on the comics boards now and then.

Also, while we’re on names, I’ve got a theory about iZombie. “Gwen Dylan” works as a joke name in print, but in spoken dialogue it will just sound like “Gwendolyn” in a joke-defeating way. The labor of selling the joke would squash it. But then if you call her “Liv” the puns will work on television: living dead, it lives, and so on. It’s funny because she’s dead.

So it appears that they are preserving the source material’s commitment to silly names in a way that better suits the new medium.

I have to disagree over Agents of SHIELD, I was really excited for this showand have been largely disappointed. They could kill off every member of the team bar Coulson and I’d still be “meh”. The guest stars are more interesting than the majority of the cast, even if they only make cameos like Saffron Burrows and Sam Jackson. Not a good thing in my opinion

However the hopes I had for SHIELD are nothing to the excitement I have for Agent Carter! Ever since I saw the short from the Iron Man dvd I felt this would be awesome and I am still hoping it will be even better than i hope. Hayley Atwell is a great actress and will be a fine lead. If they get really good writers this could make up for everything SHIELD wasn’t

Arrow is a HOT for me. Out of all the shows so far it celebrates comic characters the most for me.

I’m sorry but how does this person have a job here? She doesn’t seem to have read that many comic books, and I thought CBR was the one of the few places that put comic books ahead of movies and television. Maybe can we have this article again from some who has actually read and is familiar with a large amount of Hellblazer, iZombie, Preacher, the Flash and Scalped comics. Normally I like this column, but it seems counterintuitive to have an op-ed piece on the upcoming shows by someone not very familiar with A LOT of the source material. And seriously how can you have a job on this website with such blatant holes in your comics knowledge? Its like being at ign…..

I don’t understand the negativity towards Walkign Dead. It is SO much better than the comic that it is almost ridiculous.

Arrow is terrible. Flash and Gotham look terrible. (Gotham? Seriously? Why would that premise evoke anything more than laughter or derision?)

The Netflix shows have promise.

Arrow: SO far, it’s still the best comics-based show I’ve seen in years. And it does what no other modern show has done to date: start off Dark and then… go lighter, not darker. Two years in, it’s still great.

Walking Dead: I watch in binges periodically, and find myself using the fast-forward through some parts of an episode.

Marvel on Netflix: I’m cautiously excited, but it all depends on casting, costumes, powers, tone, etc, which we know nothing about at this time. Less than nothing, really.

AoS has really pulled it out of the tailspin in the last handful of episodes. Still agree with you about Skye. I’m still hoping Joss pulls an ‘Angel’ on us and has Grant snap her neck in the season finale.

Heroes Reborn: I still say that Kring has a drawer full of compromising documents that allowed him to get four seasons greenlit.

Um, Powers has no Deena Pilgrim? She’s like 90% of the book for the first, what, two or three years? My excitement level just went to the basement. Obviously it’s been pulled through dev hell so many times that the creators have just said ‘yes’ to anyone at this point, just to get a payday after years of unsuccessfully trying to shop what SHOULD be a no-brainer concept to everyone under the sun.

Dziugas Matas -

I’m fond of the CONSTANTINE movie, if for no other reason than that my wife likes it so much. I am also not one to bash Keanu Reeves (what’s the fun of doing what everyone else does?), still, the original Constantine (not necessarily the one in comics today) is so much more than just a supernatural con man. The movie got the surface right, but everything else wrong.

I don’t care about his hair color, but the character MUST be British. Why? Bear with me. John Constantine was pretty much a spit on Margaret Thatcher’s face. The working class punk rock streetwise British magician was sort of the anti-thesis of Thatcherism. Constantine is a anti-authoritarian humanist that sees angels and demons as more or less the same thing: powerful jerks telling common people what to do.

There is trouble when you make him an American, because the American streetwise anti-hero from cinema defaults to a different tradition. They’re all descendants of Clint Eastwood, they’re tough and invidualist, but still defenders of the status quo when it really matters. American anti-heroes usually are right-wing rebels. The movie Constantine was a lapsed Catholic who wanted to get back on Heaven’s graces! The opposite of the comic book Constantine.

Actually, the ideal Constantine TV show would be set circa 1987 or so. But I doubt they’d go for that. I am also afraid that they’ll set it in America. If they don’t make it a period piece, they could at least set it in an England that is as dirty as possible, and with a fictional Conservative Prime Minister, like they do in DOCTOR WHO. If they keep the political angle but update it to contemporary American politics and making villains out of Republicans, they run the risk of doing what V FROM VENDETTA did, with the added badness of having an Englishman smugly telling what is wrong with America and alienating at least 1/3 of the audience.

Another thing that is essential to Constantine and that the movie couldn’t get right (because of the limited time you got in movies) is a colorful supporting cast. Constantine must have a colorful supporting cast of past friends that always die tragically, sacrificed in Constantine’s eternal struggle against darkness. Not only it adds tragedy, but it makes Constantine even shadier, that he is a manipulative guy that always thrives, but everybody around him dies.

Third, and equally important, CONSTANTINE must be, deep down, about the evil that people do. This is traditional to the horror genre, and very much a part of HELLBLAZER. And another thing that was absent from the movie. All of the supernatural is sort of a metaphor for all the shitty things people do to one another. They have to take a page from AMERICAN HORROR HISTORY and build horror stories that address social issues and family issues and psychological issues and all that. Whatever people are anxious about, must be at the source of the horror tales in CONSTANTINE.

These three things (politics, supporting cast, social issues) is almost as important as the supernatural mystery angle. But they’re all so easy to get wrong.

And, as an extra bonus–I haven’t been buying or following a lot of comics lately, so this is the first I’ve heard of the THIEF OF THIEVES book, so now I have two new things to check out.

I think there were three episodes left in Heroes when I stopped watching. That’s how bad it got, I watch the entire show, then stopped three episodes short, and no regrets. I have watched many shows I didn’t like until the end because I had committed so much time to them before they got awful, what I’m trying to say, stopping three episodes short is the worst insult I can give to a show.

Not sure about these properties, but in general I wish they’d do miniseries more often. Plenty of shows that are good, but have an expiration date.

I don’t understand the negativity towards Walkign Dead. It is SO much better than the comic that it is almost ridiculous.

That’s what they call “damning with faint praise”

AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.’s biggest offense is that it’s so infuriatingly bland. Looks bland, it’s writing is bland, the acting is bland, the lighting is bland, the music is bland. It’s bland. It’s not TERRIBLE…it’s just…eh.

It really should be better than “eh”. It has not once elevated itself above “eh”.

ARROW is awesome and you’re crazy. ;) I look forward to THE FLASH.

I still love WALKING DEAD and don’t understand the complaints. Everything else I’l just have to wait and see. The trailers for GOTHAM and CONSTANTINE look promising.

Rene,

Good points, all! I will say that even Hellblazer towards the end was dealing with topics current to today, though, not so much battling a Thatcher-style conservative government. While I’ll agree that was the best era of Hellblazer, I wouldn’t expect that to be televized any more than I’d expect DC to make that the focus of the current Constantine run. I agree about the location and the origin of the character, though – I would much prefer to have the story set in England as well, and while the show seems to begin at Ravenscar in England, from what I’ve heard it will end up relocating to US, which is definitely a strike against the show. Chas is there – but also is potentially impailed by a utility pole in the trailer? It’s not very clear, but he’s next to a cab, could be him.

I still think it’s not impossible to have a quality John Constantine story where he’s relocated, and his supporting cast, Chas aside, has always been varying… I’d actually say his age is more likely to be a problem – I’m fine with the focus not being the same kind of rebellion that hte book focus on in the 80s, but I love that being a part of his past, as well as him being a punk before that. Doing a new story where he’s in his 30s again would mean he barely even remembers the 80s, and that’s a problem. Having the character age was always one of my favorite elements in Hellblazer.

Anyway… I was completely negative about the prospect of a show until I started seeing things about it, and I’ve just been slowly (and perhaps, ultimately, ill-advisedly) building my hopes up to have at least a decent outlet for my Constantine love…

To be honest, I’m willing to acknowledge I may simply have a soft spot for the film. I was a teen in 05, and while I’d read some comics, Hellblazer was the first ongoing I got into, and I started reading purely because of the movie. Not because I was blown away by the movie, necessarily, but I did like the character a lot, which prompted me to start.

I don’t think Skye as the traitor would have been better at all. It would have been too obvious. Of course the girl who was working for some mysterious hacker collective and comes from a mysterious origin is actually Madame Hyrda. Half the cast spent the first few episodes distrusting her. Making Ward the traitor packed way more emotional punch because everyone trusted him implicitly.

@Luke. Chill. Kelly knows her stuff. We all have our characters and titles we follow more than others. Its impossible to be well versed in every comic. She writes a great column

knivesinwest11

May 13, 2014 at 9:21 am

SALEM is beyond terrible.

I really tried to like Shield and even hung on for a few episodes even though it didn’t grab me at all from the first one. I think by the third episode my brain had already turned off but I still powered through hoping it’d be great. By the seventh episode I realized there were much better shows out there for me to watch and dropped it altogether.

Arrow on the other hand had me from the first episode, and the stories and the pacing of the first and second seasons have been very good!

The Gotham and Constantine Trailers look good to me so I’m on board. I don’t think I can get excited for any of the Marvel Netflix shows because I haven’t seen anything from them to get jazzed up about. Lump Agent Carter in there too, because she wasn’t that much of a presence in the Captain America movie.

In my opinion, DC’s line up for shows seems to cover a better variety of genres than Marvel’s stable does. So I’m more curious to see how those play out.

DAMMIT, CARTMAN, STOP SAYING ‘HELLA!’

:)

@Kelly: Yeah, I’m sure the production stills for the Defenders shows will be EVERYWHERE in a year or so. Won’t be able to avoid them even if I wanted to!

Back when I used to spend a lot of time in NYC (OMG… a decade ago!!!), I’d get a hankering for a 7 Layer Burrito and I’d go to the Taco Bell near NYU (it was the only that I knew of in Manhattan). I’d arrive and I’d stand in front of it but I could never go inside. Something about it bummed me out. Maybe it was because I was in one of the world’s biggest cities with countless food options and I was trying to go to Taco Bell. Maybe it was because fast food joints in Manhattan have this vibe that remind me of a high school cafeteria. I dunno. But I never ate at Taco Bell in NYC and I can understand why you wouldn’t either.

Please do send more scripts :D

Brian from Canada

May 13, 2014 at 5:01 pm

For me…

• Marvel’s Agents Of SHIELD: MILD/NO SAUCE
There is an upswing in the back half, but the series has a hard time with consistency in tone, has characters that don’t feel like a team, and lacks the bigger plot to make me want to see the next episode first each week.

• The Walking Dead: KETCHUP
AMC came into Canada late, and when I caught up with this show I was bored. Great premise, starts strong… and then becomes too repetitive to me.

• Arrow: HOT/MILD
Ollie’s dark goal is being supplanted with a lighter one, there is some serious world building going around him, and with Deathstroke’s end going to define him more, I expect we’ll see a more lighter, adventurous tone that’s bringing him closer to the character from the past.

• Marvel’s Agent Carter: HOT/MILD
On the one hand, classic spying is good. On the other hand, the supernatural/mystic/superhero element can take over too much and we’ll have a bad mix of genres. The one-shot was okay… but needs to be improved a bit, so hopefully the series can do that.

• Constantine: HOT/MILD
A perfect match for Grimm on NBC, this series can be good… or really, really bad. I am looking forward to it, though, as I think it’s a unique genre mashup that can work and – with luck – impact the comics like Arrow did into forcing a more flippant, thinking John Constantine instead of one trying to save the world from super major baddy each week.

• iZombie: MILD/NONE
It’s CW. The premise may be good, but the execution on the network runs hot or cold.

• The Flash: HOT
If the Arrow teaser episodes were any indication, this will be a light, fun show with science fiction elements and the “growing into adulthood” teen hook CW does best. The star is great in the role.

• Gotham: NONE/KETCHUP
A show about Jim Gordon in the pre-Batman days? Good. A show which will be trying to hint at everything Batman later on? Bad. And the fact that Jada Pinckett-Smith is a new villain for the show because they can’t find a single one in Gotham’s history worth doing is just plain sad.

• untitled Walking Dead spinoff: KETCHUP
Rinse, recycle, repeat: a typical spinoff using characters who branch off from the others. Pass.

• Thief Of Thieves: MILD
AMC shows don’t really do it for me, and the concept doesn’t sound that strong, but I am willing to try it.

• AKA Jessica Jones: HOT/MILD
A great character that can be done fantastically well… as long as they don’t make her a superhero. The moment they move away from the private investigator who gave it up, it stops being her and becomes a generic hero show. (The only other thing I don’t like about it is that it’s Netflix — and Netflix Canada is so much worse I will have to wait for it to come to another source to see it.)

• Iron Fist: MILD/HOT
I love the character and think he’s got great potential for television. That said, I will have to see how they do it — I don’t want a cable show where it’s one movie chopped into ten episodes, I want a series that’s really well written in different parts… and original.

• Luke Cage: MILD/NONE
I want the early days of Cage, when he was a hero for hire who cared about his community. That’s an untapped success. However, based on the Marvel Cinematic Universe treatments, I doubt we’ll get that, and I really don’t want to see him ruined even more: we went from a guy who really wasn’t interested in being a major superhero to leading an Avengers team. Ugh.

• Daredevil: KETCHUP
The plot may be excellent and the effects great, but I feel Marvel will spend too much time replicating parts of the movie because this is a character that doesn’t do very well in series for long before he becomes cliche. Hopefully they can change my mind, but I am really skeptical.

• Marvel’s The Defenders: KETCHUP
Sorry, Marvel, but The Defenders are the big heroes who aren’t interested in being a team… not some B-listers who happen to come together against a common threat like their big Avenger cousins. They’ve pissed on the legacy of this classic Marvel title for too long and I have no interest in it happening again, especially when it’s clearly an exercise to replicate the movie experiment for cable to show it works every time. (Guess what? It’s not working for the cartoons!)

• Scalped: KETCHUP
The comics did nothing for me, so I am just not interested.

• Powers: PURPLE KETCHUP (worse than regular ketchup)
PlayStation? Seriously?? Any show that requires me to buy new hardware I don’t want for content that, most likely, will not be available in Canada (as it happens for a lot of cable/Internet shows) does not interest me in the slightest.

• Preacher: PURPLE KETCHUP (worse than regular ketchup)
Seth. Rogen. He’s the producer, and you can just picture him cracking up over A$$face. Instead of being dark and gritty, this show will most like exploit the crude and ridiculous at points and that’s not something that interests me.

• Heroes: Reborn: MILD/NONE
On the down side, no one was really asking for this. On the plus side, no one was really asking for this. This allows Tim Kring the chance to surprise, and the first series was decent enough that he can — with a new cast and reduced series structure — focus on something that’s new and exciting again. Plus, I am pumped for a return to more mini-series style shows on the networks: It’s what cable is really doing these days, anyway, just without the same care for ratings.

Very excited for all of the Netflix/Marvel titles in the works. Honestly, didn’t think of Idris Alba for Luke Cage but that would be a pretty killer choice (just started watching Luther after a recommendation which is amazing) but I think you NEED Terry Crews for that role. To me he IS Luke Cage.

I’m most excited for Gotham and Scalped I think. Didn’t know that Thief of Thieves was optioned but I feel we may see an edgier version of the Oceans movies with Pitt, Clooney etc.

Didn’t read all the comments, so apologies if it’s already been mentioned, but…you skipped the number 8 in your list. I only felt the need to point this out because, well, 20 shows (counting Heroes I guess) is not as impressive as 21.

Andy E. Nystrom

May 13, 2014 at 7:10 pm

Luke: It doesn’t bother me if someone hasn’t read the source material. In fact that can sometimes be a bit of a litmus test for how well something holds up on its own. If someone who hasn’t read the comics either can’t follow the show (or movie) on its own or they can follow it but aren’t engaged, there may be issues with the particular take on the project.

To give a concrete example: I haven’t seen Finding Nemo or Monsters, Inc but I’ve ridden their rides at Disneyland Park and Disney’s California Adventure respectively. I was completely, well, out to sea with the Nemo ride’s narrative but the Monsters Inc ride I understood enough to enjoy it.

So if Kelly can talk intelligently about the projects she’s seen or at least the pitches, it doesn’t matter to me if she hasn’t seen the source material.

William O'Brien

May 13, 2014 at 7:37 pm

SHIELD really dropped the ball with the season finale, kind of punting away what progress it had made since Cap 2. For instance, it spent the last two episodes softening up Ward again, failing to recognize that the character only works as a scumbag. At least it looks like it has a direction in mind for season 2, which it didn’t for most of season 1. And hey, Bill Paxton was clearly enjoying himself in this one.

It’s really quite stunning how much more ambition Arrow has than SHIELD, considering the relative power of the networks involved. Even when Arrow misfires, it often makes up for it in sheer gumption.

It’s going to be pretty hard to soften Preacher up enough for it to be suitable even for AMC. I really wish it were on one of the premium networks.

I’m very curious about the Netflix shows. One of the very valid criticisms of the Marvel Studios movies is that they are all very similar in tone, though Winter Soldier departed from that a bit. The four Netflix properties are a chance to be very different. In a perfect world they would each be a radically different genre and tone, but the stated intention to team them up seems to rule that out.

I really try to like Arrow, but it’s just so damn try-hard. From the extremely overblown soundtrack to the attempts to be dark and edgy, it just doesn’t work. Especially when, at the same time, it’s trying to appeal to the teenage market. And in general, the writing is above average at best. Also, Flash really does feel like it’s gonna fail to me.

While I am REALLY looking forward to Daredevil, Luke Cagea no Iron Fist, I could not care less about Jessica Jones. I never really cared about the character outside of Alias, and Bendis trying to cram her down my throat did not help any. I’ve had enough of her. When it comes to Marvel women, I’m waiting for the Captain Marvel adaption.

Pretty good list. I disagree with you completely about Arrow. I have been watching it from the beginning and have found it to be immensely enjoyable. I’m also a lot more excited for Flash than you seem to be. As of right now, the Agent Carter, DD, and JJ shows are the ones that I’m most interested in. Gotham and Constantine look like they could potentially be good as well.

@Dean Hacker I didn’t mention this before, but I almost always agree or learn from what you add.

Especially on the subject of Ketchup.

@Kelly

OK friend.

Can we see that eye roll again…”that’s amazing.” (Using Ed Wynn voice)

Adding “Deadly Class” to the wish list.

PS: “Hella” forever and Hella is a GREAT band.

” I know it’s unlikely Elba would return to TV, and it’s hard to return to TV when your TV was arguably the best show ever on television (THE WIRE) but a girl can dream, and my dream is Idris Elba FOREVER! ”

Elba returned to television a few years ago for “Luther”. It ended after three years, but they’re making a movie. I think he’d do it if it were a decent show.

Marvel biased much? Lol! :P

@JRod: Thanks for the catch! Can’t believe I missed that…then again, counting has never been my strength. ;)

I’ve corrected the piece.

Mr. Wayne. 7 Marvel, 6 DC. Dumb as a post much?

Dang, forgot DMZ, not sure I should have counted Defenders. My comment more or less stands.

Aw, I liked the numbering the way it was. It added to the quirkiness of your piece, along with the saucy rating system. And if there’s one thing reading comics has taught me, it’s that sequential numbering is overrated.

No one has mentioned that this author is clearly a Marvel fangirl? So obvious, and while it’s decently written, it’s clear she hasn’t gave Arrow a shot it rightfully deserves. I mean, it consistently beats the crap out of AoS every week. I think Arrow gets judged by CW’s past. CW has changed, for the better. If Arrow was on Fox or ABC, people would be creaming on it.

I’m might love DC a lot right now, but don’t misjudge me as a DC fanboy spitting on Marvel. AoS sucks .Agent Carter might be okay, but I’m defiantely excited for the Netflix series, namely Iron Fist and DD.

By the way, after viewing that 5 minute trailer for the pilot of The Flash, I can firmly say that it WILL BE the show every fanboy will love.

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