As we get towards the end of the first month of 2016 all the new TV shows are going to start debuting. There’s always a lot of them, some survive and some don’t.
A few years ago, the trend was zombies. There were zombie movies, zombie books and zombie games everywhere. Recently as people are more willing to embrace their inner nerd shows that are based off of comics are becoming all the rage. Obviously there’s always been the movies but now the television networks (and Netflix) are getting into the game.
Coming into 2016 there were three current DC series still running and four from the Marvel universe that are either currently running or renewed for a second season. Two of those series are on Netflix so that puts six series total on cable television. Marvel has three new series debuting in 2016 and DC has three of their own queued up as well. That doesn’t even count the four other series that have had pilots ordered, not to mention the multitude of series that are in development.
For those of you keeping score at home that’s thirteen series that are going to be on TV and Netflix on 2016 based off of comic books.
At first that sounds pretty awesome but remember the zombie trend? It was the hottest thing out there for a while with all varieties of stories being told. In the future, in the past, during the apocalypse and after it.
Eventually the market got over-saturated and we got bored. Are we headed for that with the comic shows as well?
I’ll freely admit that I haven’t watched all the shows that are currently on TV but the ones I’ve seen are all pretty good. Most of the ones I haven’t seen are waiting for me on Netflix or my DVR so I’ll get caught up eventually but at some point I’m probably going to get burned out on them. I’m a guy who loves this kind of stuff (obviously otherwise I wouldn’t be here) and even I might get tired of them eventually.
Remember Constantine? It was on TV for one season before getting the can. It was a decent show but it still got the boot because it just blended in with everything else that was on at the same time. It was just too similar to other shows which is what all these new shoes might run into eventually as well.
Of the Big Two, I think Marvel stands the better shot of having their series succeed.
Why? Well the one advantage that they have over DC is that all of Marvel’s properties tie together. Every single one of their movies exist in the same universe and their television shows exist in there too. They’ve got Agent Carter to help with some of the origins and then Agents of Shield to fill in the gaps of the movies. They did a fantastic job of delving further into the implosion of Shield that happened in the second Captain America movie.
Although I haven’t watched them yet, Daredevil and Jessica Jones are listed as being part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe so they’re going to tie in somehow. That alone makes them worth watching just to see how it happens.
DC took another approach which I think is going to end up hurting them in the end.
They just finished a wildly successful trilogy of Batman movies so clearly the best idea was to reboot him and Superman. They exist in their own universe which will eventually become the Justice League Universe. That seems all well and good except that some of their members exist in their own universe already. The Arrowverse contains both Green Arrow and Flash who are primary members of the League but won’t be reprising their roles in the Justice League movies.
This seems like it’s going to end up hurting DC since those actors cast will have to contend with the ones who have already established the role. It will make people wonder why they should be watching the shows if they don’t have anything to do with the movies. It might backfire on them something fierce. However there is a chance they could make it work. It could be one of those alternate Earth type deals and if they actually cross the two worlds over, it could be huge. The one thing that Marvel hasn’t done yet is bring the big stars to TV. If DC did it first they might set a new precedent.
So maybe we’ll keep watching the shows based on comics and maybe we won’t.
The one thing to keep in mind is that outside of Smallville that ran for ten seasons, the longest running show in recent times based on a comic book is Arrow which is has four seasons. You have to go all the way back to the original Superman and Incredible Hulk for shows that went longer. History’s not really on their side.
At least if they get cancelled, we’ll still always have the cartoons.
*Tim is a contributing writer to Drunk on Comics. You can find him on Twitter @tbach84