Saturday, November 1, 2014

Thoughts on the DC Television Universe

Had an interesting conversation with Geri the Murderous Librarian today about Arrow, Flash and Gotham today and the nature of the growing DC Television universe. She and I were not at odds but had different viewpoints on the Arrow series in part because of character interpretation - the Green Arrow of the TV show is clearly built off of Mike Grell's _Longbow Hunters_, the early 1990's interpretation of the character who works on an urban hunter vibe. I happen to like that interpretation of the character, while Geri's default the 1970's hippie version, who picks ideological fights, cracks jokes, has a boxing glove arrow and a generally lighter tone. Both are valid version of the character but I can certainly see her point.

Even without the general DC live action dictate that these characters are serious stuff and not childish super-heroes who crack jokes, DC's TV unit kinda worked themselves into a corner here - Smallville was a well done, popular show that was built on the theory that ti would never show Clark as Superman. As the show went on and the universe expanded that became harder to do, especially with more super-heroes turning up. The desire to have a semi justice league meant they needed to have a crystallization character.

This _should_ be Superman. But they can't have a Superman in the show's premise. It could be Batman, but Batman was decreed off limits. So they made it Oliver Queen - he's passionate, has resources, and can be made into a credible leader type. Except Ollie isn't the crystallization character - he's the irritant. The almost outsider who keeps forcing the rest of the League to defend what they're doing, to focus on the little guy, to point out worst case scenarios and otherwise start social conflicts. That's true whether he's the urban hunter or the loudmouthed idealist. That's the big tweak to the character. And the Oliver Queen in Smallville was popular. Popular enough to give him his own show.

But then they didn't build on the Smallville basis but re-set that type of Oliver in a new setting, which is now the core of the growing TV universe, inspiring the new Flash. And that decision just puts everything else a little off kilter. It should be Barry, or Hal, or best of all J'onn acting as the core of the team if the big trinity is off limits.

No real point to this, just some observations on how comics translate to TV. Ill do more later on how this can work for supers gaming based one existing properties.