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.
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.
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.
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.
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.