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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.

Archie Got Abs!

Archie Got Abs! published on

In all of comics, there is nothing that more perfectly encapsulates Americana and the 1940s and 50s era of innocence, malt shops and that there was once a time you could trust politicians and those in charge.


Archie and the gang, have remained largely unchanged since 1941, even with a variety of animated shows throughout the years and a live action TV movie in 1990, Archie: To Riverdale and Back Again (Lowry) that depicted the characters 15 years after graduating high school the world of Archie has remained forever in a bubble. Not to dissimilar to the The Brady Bunch Movie (1995, Thomas) that placed the titular family in the modern era but presented them with the same attitudes and morality as when the original show aired (1969-74).


So it was with a level of skepticism that I approached Riverdale,

the moody millennial updating of Archie, Betty, Veronica and the rest of the ensemble. All of the promotional artwork, trailers and one sheets for the show gave us the first glimpses of a show steeped in Noir, Lynch and any number of over-sexed teen dramas. In the first promotional poster we saw a steamed up VW Beetle, SPOILER the pilot/opening episode reveals that the couple in the car are Archie and music teacher Miss Grundy who is a far cry from her original 1941 incarnation.

Add in teen angst, unrequited love, heavy doses of medication, a potential murder with hints of incest and social hierarchy that wouldn’t be out of place in Mean Girls (2004, Waters) and the show is a melting pot of many ideas that will either be crushed under the weight of its ideas over the shows first season of 12 chapters, rather than episodes, or give us a show that lives up to the promise of its Lynchian premise.

Presently the opening episode reminds me of the recent MTV version of Scream, with its dark themes and portentous voiceover. It is certainly a bold move on the part of The CW, though the show was originally developed at Fox in 2014, to take a show so inherently American and add such darkness to it.

Though given the times we live in, the darkness beneath the surface of something so clean and all American is more a reflection of our times than a meditation upon the change in the American dream.

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.


Invasion! published on

This was a bold move on the part of The CW, combine all four of its DC properties, including Supergirl after her move from CBS, into one big crossover story. I was really looking forward to this, the previous cameo’s, Constantine, and crossovers between The Flash, Arrow and Legends Of Tomorrow had for the most part been successful and whilst Gotham is out there on its own these shows have far more cohesion going on than Marvel’s own TV shows, Netflix’s aside, that share the same universe but never really converge. (At the time of writing).


One of the biggest benefits for Invasion! is that it was able to balance the overall storyline whilst still tying up various threads from each shows storylines and how they impact upon the other shows. Of the four shows Supergirl was the weakest but that was largely down to the episode having nothing to do with the over-arching plot, with the final scene merely involving Barry Allen and Cisco Ramon travelling from Earth-Prime to Earth-38 to enlist Supergirl’s help in their battle with the Dominators.

benoistsupergirlSupergirl however proves to be one of the highlights across the entire arc, Melissa Benoist’s acting is superb as Supergirl attempts to navigate around the vast array of characters presenting us with some moments of gold. Her reaction to Mick Rory’s (Heat Wave) backstory of having burnt his childhood home down with his entire family in it is absolutely priceless as is her interaction with Ray Palmer (The Atom) during the Legends episode that leaves Palmer commenting that she ‘looks like my cousin’. In fact I found the overall story to be a little flat with the various character interactions being the one thing that held everything together, from Cisco’s comments about Curtis’ (Mister Terrific) penchant for quoting films as, sarcastically, ‘original’. These knowing moments where the production team acknowledge that maybe some of their characters are a little derivative of each other works in the shows benefit, as does the reaction of various characters to ‘Flashpoint’ particularly the Legends team who ‘deal’ with time abnormalities on a weekly basis and their questioning of Barry’s selfishness and the repercussions that are being felt across the Arrowverse shows.

Barry’s selfishness which will no doubt continue to have repercussions across the remainder of season 3 for the scarlet speedster and potentially the other Arrowverse shows beyond some superficial changes, such as Diggle now having a son as opposed to previously having a daughter. Oliver Queen’s sometimes prickly nature also works well within the show, although he has had various teams around him during Arrows, now, 5 seasons as a character he has always preferred to work alone where he has total control of the situation. The inclusion of Supergirl and the various characters is something which doesn’t sit well with Oliver and he is not backward in letting his feelings be known about it. It’s character moments like these that are the highlights, the acknowledgement of Snart’s (Captain Cold) sacrifice during the first season of Legends is given a poignant moment of levity along with Dr. Stein’s discovery that he has inadvertently altered his own history with the revelation that he now has a daughter.

The characters are the real bonus of this arc, not the story, and I hope should the shows continue for a few more years that we get some more crossovers. Hopefully one where the Supergirl episode is more than just the introduction and we get some interaction between her cast and Arrowverse characters beyond Barry, though I am massively looking forward to the musical crossover episode, there is some real musical pedigree amongst the casts of Supergirl and The Flash. It is certain that Kara and Barry work best together and this probably has more to do with their shows slightly lighter tone when compared to Arrow or the ensemble of Legends.

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