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Powerless: Wayne Or Lose

Powerless: Wayne Or Lose published on

I’d given up hope of this ever hitting the airwaves, it seems to have been in development for well over a year and whilst I appreciate that it can take some time for a show to move from being optioned by a studio, particularly if its based upon pre-existing material, moving past the development stage and being ordered to Pilot stage. From there there is no guarantee that the show will even be picked up for a half or even full season.

The superhero landscape is littered with shows that never made it past the pilot stage. The 2011 Wonder Woman, the 2006 Aquaman and Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. spin-off Most Wanted, to name three. All of which incidentally star Adrianne Palicki, that poor girl just can’t catch a break as she also starred in the unsold pilot for The Robinsons: Lost in Space (2003) which was directed by John Woo.

Powerless was first announced in January 2016 and has taken just over a year to be broadcast, though there are reports of various behind the scenes issues with the shows original show runner leaving in August 2016 and the pilot episode that was shown at the 2016 San Diego Comic Con being almost completely reshot and its premise of a group working for an insurance company that has to deal with the fall-out from superhero battles being completely dropped. The new version of the show concerns a group of developers who design products to protect people from harm during superhero battles. Neither sound particularly appealing and given the laughter vacuum that surrounds the pilot that aired the original must have been terrible to warrant a complete overhaul.

The cast are fine, Vanessa Hudgens has that perky ‘all American girl next door’ quality as Emily Locke. Alan Tudyk is suitably self serving as her boss Van Wayne, Thomas Wayne’s ‘cousins, cousins, cousin’. As for the rest of the cast Danny Pudi, Christina Kirk and Ron Funches, as I’m not familiar with their body of work it’s difficult to make any snap judgements as it’s the pilot so they aren’t given a lot to work with. The roles may dramatically  improve for everyone as the series progresses but from this laughter free vacuum I am not holding out much hope.

Given that sitcoms generally tend to work on the basis of stereotypes and impossibly thin plotting to get by I was hoping that given the rich comic book world in which this show would be working there would be more depth. In the opening episode there just isn’t, a half arsed jab at Batman Vs Superman for its vague reasoning for the two heroes to be fighting is pretty thin for a show that trundles along for 22minutes with no direction.

It has already been established that this show isn’t part of The CW Arrowverse, nor clearly the big screen universe of the DCEU. So it seems to almost be part of the Batman ’66 universe, as although uncredited Adam West provides the show with its opening narration introducing us to the world of Wayne Security. Along with another DC alumni Marc McClure who is probably most famous for playing Jimmy Olsen to Christopher Reeves Superman.

This opening episode does not fill me with a great deal of hope for the series, iMDb currently has unto 10 episodes listed but as this appears to be relatively cheap to produce there could be more, I think this is the first time I have ever hoped that a series would get cancelled as I find it embarrassing for everyone involved and doesn’t look good in the already muddied waters of DC related material, thank god for Arrow and company.

Given their relatively similar premises maybe Marvel are waiting to see how this show fairs before taking Damage Control forward, a show that seems to have been in development almost as long as Powerless.

Tipping Point Part 2

Tipping Point Part 2 published on

On the 12th of December 2015 I wrote Tipping Point. Are we there or have we passed it? during which I asked whether the 8 feature films due for release along with the numerous TV shows, live action and various animated titles being released in 2016 represented a tipping point for comic book related material, along with the 50+ titles that are due to be released or are in development between 2016 and 2020 represented a market reaching saturation point with the bubble and the wider publics taste in such material soon to burst and fade as whatever the next trend is takes flight.

Well writing as I am now in January 2017, it doesn’t appear that that bubble is going to burst anytime soon, its stretched to the point that the once dark ballon is practically transparent and the sharp edges threaten to tear through at any moment but 2017 promises to be another bumper year for comic book fans. The list of titles being optioned, where studios buy up the rights to potentially make features or shows of the title, continues to grow but presently we do not appear to have any titles in development past 2020 when I wrote originally back in 2015.

2016 had 8 feature films dropping across various formats, cinema and VOD, in 2017 we get at least 9 features potentially hitting the cinema. Three titles from the MCU, Guardians Vol. 2 (April), Spider-Man: Homecoming (July) and Thor: Ragnarok (October).

The struggling DCEU has two features which lets face it are make or break for the studio in terms of general goodwill from the public and critics at large, even fans are struggling to defend the features. Wonder Woman and Justice League: Part 1, personally a horrible title, hit the silver screen in June and November respectively. Will all the behind the scenes issues that appear to be surrounding the DC films and the revolving door policy that seems to be effecting the Flash features directors chair this could well spell the end of the DCEU unless 2017 corrects the mistakes made over the past year.

As for the odds and sods, we have the highly anticipated Logan, apparently marking Hugh Jackmans final appearance as Wolverine, the potentially controversial Ghost In The Shell starring Scarlett Johansson, both in March and Kingsman: The Golden Circle in October but my personal favourite release has got to be Lego Batman in February which looks like it could be the best Batman related feature in many years.

TV isn’t much better with all of The CWs DC titles, Arrow, The Flash, Legends Of Tomorrow and Supergirl for anyone struggling to keep up, confirmed to return for new seasons in the latter half of the year. As well as their Archie update Riverdale which is due to air at the end of January.

The Marvel/Netflix stable continues to be full steam ahead with Iron Fist (March), The Punisher and The Defenders (both TBC) all dropping on the streaming platform this year. As does The Inhumans, which appears to have been shifted from a feature to an event/mini-series though the opening episode will be screened in cinemas in September.

The Fox/Marvel show Legion, that apparently has no connection to the X-Men features airs in February and sensibly runs for only eight episodes, that could change should the show be renewed. We also get the 3rd season of the long delayed iZombie in April along with the will it/won’t it ever be released Powerless from DC in February. Depending on how that show does Marvel may eventually release/put in to production Damage Control which seems to have been in development for a few years now.

Other shows due to return though lacking release dates are the two Walking Dead shows, Preacher and Wynonna Earp. So this year alone we will definitely get 16 live action shows related to comic book material with at least 7 of those being ‘NEW’ to the airwaves, that figure could increase to 17 as at the time of writing there has been no confirmation that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  will be renewed for a fifth season.

Now the reason I concluded that last sentence with ‘live action’ is because the animated shows and DTV features further muddy the waters. DC continue to dominate this marketplace, in much the same way they do with live action shows, this year will see the release of the animated feature Justice League Dark, that rather beautifully sees the return of Matt Ryan to the role of John Constantine and later in the year DC will follow that up with two more animated features Teen Titans: The Judas Contract and Batman and Harley Quinn, though neither have confirmed release dates at the time of writing. Speaking of Matt Ryan will again reprise his role in a web series, Constantine, from the same studio that brought us Vixen and which will thus tie the character to The CWs Arrowverse along with the in development Freedom Fighters: The Ray which is also due to air at some point this year, making Constantine the sixth show to fall under that umbrella.

Marvel however are not to be out done as at some point in 2017 we will get an animated spin-off from their 2014 feature Big Hero 6, and second season of Guardians of The Galaxy and a new Spider-Man series, simply titled Marvel’s Spider-Man that will replace the Ultimate Spider-Man series that ran for four seasons along with some potential Rocket & Groot animated shorts though bugger all has been heard about that since some concept art appeared online all over a year ago.

One final mention must go to Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series which has been renewed for a fifth season and will likely air in the later half of the year as at the time of writing the fourth season was still airing, mostly due to animated shows not being as closely controlled by networks and episodes dropping randomly at times, often with a couple of months between new episodes.

I though this was getting out of hand in 2015, but 2017 just goes to show that studios and networks are going to continue to churn out shows, features and animation based on comic related material, there is the in built market, new generations of fans are born ever year and whilst they continue to make money and be profitable comic related material will be seen on a screen somewhere in one form or another.

In a side note we may also get two Death Note feature films, the US version and the 3rd Japanese feature, ‘Light Up the New World’ that was released in Japan last year. As well as an animated feature of Chew, that has been in development for a number of years and did have Robin Williams attached before his untimely death.

Where the hell are the Inhumans?

Where the hell are the Inhumans? published on

inhumans2

So the Inhumans MCU film was originally announced as having a November 2018 release date, placing it in Phase 3, then as new titles were announced, Ant-Man and The Wasp and Captain Marvel, the Inhumans was then pushed back to July 2019 before finally being pulled from Marvel Studios upcoming slate altogether in April 2016. This effectively rules the film out of Phase 3 which will end in April 2019 when the fourth (Untitled) Avengers film, previously Infinity War: Part 2 is released.

Daisy_Johnson_AOS-1
Chloe Bennet as Daisy “Skye” Johnson a.k.a.Quake

It seems a strange move for Marvel to remove the Inhumans from the roster as they have been heavily involved in the plot-arcs for Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. during seasons 2 and 3 of the show with Daisy “Skye” Johnson a.k.a.Quake (Chloe Bennet) eventually revealed to be an Inhuman. Although there has not been a massive amount of crossover between the TV shows and the films beyond references to events from the film and the occasional cameo, Lady Sif (Jamie Alexander), Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Marie Hill (Cobie Smulders) there was a definite feeling that the show was laying the basis for introducing the Inhumans into the cinematic series.

With the various rights to characters and titles tied up in more red tape than a villain in Spidermans web the Inhumans were a great way around the MCU not being able to feature mutants but still being able to feature super-powered characters outside of the cinematic releases and in doing so it also meant that the term, Inhumans, would not be so alien to the wider public. After all its the casual fans, the non-diehards, those who are only really familiar with the cinematic versions of the characters who are helping to push the films B.O. over the $1Billion mark on various occasions.

Marvel publishing are also featuring the Inhumans quite heavily in their periodicals with three  ongoing titles, Uncanny Inhumans, All-New Inhumans and a solo series for Karnak even if the releases for the solo series has been a bit erratic. At the time of writing only 4 issues have been published between December 2015 and August 2016, a pretty poor release rate considering it is both Marvel and Warren Ellis. So it seems a very strange move on Marvel Studios part to suddenly pull Inhumans from its release schedule with no future release date planned.

There may be some light at the end of the tunnel, Marvel Studios have announced that they plan on releasing three titles in 2020, May, July and November, it would also seem that these films will mark the beginning of Phase 4 for the studio and at present Marvel have made no announcements as to what those films will be. Following the disaster that Fantastic Four was for Fox Studios in 2016 there may some hope that one of those three dates may be reserved for the first family of comics and hopefully the Inhumans with sequels to possibly Guardians Of The Galaxy 3 or Spider-Man 2 taking up the remaining spot.

Who knows, hopefully we’ll get an Inhumans feature in the next few years, especially as various actors, Chris’s Hemsworth and Evans and Robert Downey Jr’s contracted appearances will soon be up, especially in light of two Avengers titles in 2018 fulfilling those obligations and RDJ’s paycheque increasing with each successive feature.

2020 may be the year for the Inhumans, audiences took to Guardians in a surprising way and there is definite hope that the same will happen for Doctor Strange (2016) and Black Panther (2018), Marvel Studios over the past decade have proven adapt at producing smart and intelligent features with up and coming talent both in front and behind the camera and the Inhumans mix of high fantasy and science fiction could attract an eclectic cast.

Inhumans Title Card

Tipping Point. Are we there or have we passed it?

Tipping Point. Are we there or have we passed it? published on 1 Comment on Tipping Point. Are we there or have we passed it?

In 2016 we will see the release of 8 features based upon comic book sources. 6 of those are from the heavy hitters, DC has 2 features and Marvel has 4, along with the second Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film produced by Michael Bay as well as Joe Casey’s Officer Downe, published by Image being the only real wildcard and at the time of writing the only one without either a confirmed release date or whether it will see the insides of a cinema.

Original work by MessyPandas
Original work by MessyPandas
Release Date: February 2016
Release Date: February 2016
Release date: June 2016
Release date: June 2016

Then factor in the New Year returns of The CWs Arrow and Flash series, ABCs Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and CBSs Supergirl which is now confirmed to be getting a full season. The return of Agent Carter, The CWs third show Legends Of Tomorrow and the Luke Cage series that is due to premier on Netflix at some point along with a second season of Daredevil. Throw in returning shows Powers, Dark Matter and Fear The Walking Dead all getting second seasons, The Walking Dead which along with returning after the holiday hiatus already has a 7th season confirmed for the fall season.

Due to air January 2016
Due to air January 2016
Due to air January 2016
Due to air January 2016
Air date unknown
Air date unknown

Then there’s the debut seasons of Preacher and Lucifer at various points throughout the year, before we get onto the multitude of animated features, predominantly from DC, including Batman: Bad Blood, which features Batwoman, and the eagerly anticipated Batman: The Killing Joke. Whilst Marvel are dominating the small screen with new seasons of its animated shows Avengers Assemble, Ultimate Spider-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy in the latter half of the year which will also see Nickelodeons Ninja Turtles returning for a fifth season.

Due to be released February 2016
Due to be released February 2016
Season 4 currently airing. Season 5 due Autumn 2016.
Season 4 currently airing, season 5 due Autumn 2016.

As comic readers, fans pick and choose the series they read, drop them as the quality declines then pick them up again if the title secures a noted creative team. But fans are less likely to do that with a TV show, we tend to watch the first half-dozen episodes before sticking with a series or dropping it. Shows like Arrow or Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. tend to require more commitment, due to their seasons being 22 episodes, than Agent Carter or Daredevil which tend to be referred to as ‘event series’ due to their season lengths being anywhere between 8 and 13 episodes. Animation tends to be a little easier to digest, they don’t really require the same level of commitment as a live action show. Whilst they may have an over arcing plot line, they are far easier to dip in and out of than live action shows and at about 22 minutes in length they also don’t require the same amount of time commitment. 22 episodes of Arrow are going to require about 17 hours of your time to watch the entire season where as 22 episodes of Ninja Turtles are only going to eat up about 8 hours of your free time.

But making some rough estimates and assuming that all the shows currently airing, that haven’t been renewed for what will become the 2016/17 television season, are renewed, along with the animation series, the animated features and the feature films will require about 10 days commitment from each viewer should they chose to watch every comic related show and film that will be released in 2016. Thats a lot of time to give up and that doesn’t even take into account someone watching any other number of films, shows, podcasts or even listening to music. Factor in LIFE and work and suddenly your free time becomes a lot more precious.

In Conclusion

It is inevitable that viewer fatigue will begin to set in soon, if not amongst fanboys and the diehards then eventually amongst the casual viewer, the people that helped push Avengers: Age Of Ultron past $1 Billion at the box office. It’s not much of a leap to assume that most cinema goers couldn’t careless about Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. or Daredevil and how they expand the MCU or how they potentially impact upon future films in the franchise, if at all. Warner Bros. and DC have a lot riding upon the success of Batman Vs Superman and sooner or later one of the Marvel films is going to tank heavily at the Box Office and regardless of how many comic book films that either have a release date on the calendar or are in development studio bosses will soon begin pulling the plugs once the bubble bursts. This could prove costly however for the studios, many actors especially with the Marvel films have multiple film deals in place and others could have ‘pay or play’ contracts in place that could cost the studios millions regardless of if the films get made or not.

Between 2016 and 2020 there are potentially 50+ feature films either, due to be released, in development or in production related to comic book material. Sooner or later these films could collapse under the weight of their own expectation or the general public will just loose interest leaving the die hards with unanswered plot threads and more questions than answers.

A similar fate could also befall any number of the TV shows currently airing or due to air. Constantine was sadly left with unanswered questions just as it started to get really interesting, and many of the shows currently airing could end on cliffhangers. Not every show will get a ten year run like Smallville most will likely make it to a 3rd or 4th season before viewing figures drop off and the axe falls.

This may well be the golden age of comic book adaptations so perhaps we should make the most of it whilst we still can, though that doesn’t mean we should blindly watch everything just because its from DC or Marvel but sooner or later the bubble will burst.

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