It has been known for some time that Marvel has wanted to expand its ever growing popularity into television. With the massive success of The Avengers there is no wonder that they are now planning a television show set in that universe, and for the record this isn’t the Hulk TV show with Guillermo del Toro. I for one am not too excited about a Hulk TV show, for me it seems like they are just trying to re-ignite the popularity of the past show. However, I’m not so sure it will work with the level of expectation from fans after seeing The Avengers on the big screen. The cost for SFX would easily destroy the budget of the show, or worst yet having a Hulk TV show with little to no Hulk. I don’t think fans are ready to go from CGI mo-cap Hulk to a bodybuilder painted green. So this begs the question, who do you have star in a your Marvel TV show without breaking your budget or watering down your heroes?
When it comes to intergalactic battles and alien invasions Marvel relies on The Avengers and soon the Guardians of the Galaxy. However, when its time to make a series that can appeal to the regular guy on the street you need someone closer to your level. Enter Marvel’s street level heroes. They are the most logical choice for any TV program that takes place inside the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While a complete failure of a show, NBC’s Heroes, did show us something. We learned that a superhero TV show can totally work and it will have a massive following. However, it also showed us you can’t promise too much too fast or your property will fail miserably.
The most important question in these situations is always who. Who are you going to choose to put on television? Clearly there are two characters that are ripe for a TV adaptation, Luke Cage and Iron Fist. Otherwise known as the Heroes for Hire, these two are the perfect choice. Even the title sounds like a TV show, just perfect. Neither one of them would require any insane budget to show off their abilities. Luke Cage is basically bullet proof and Iron Fist can cause his fists to ignite when he concentrates his chi. That special effect was done on Heroes, and frankly I’m sure it could be done even better now. So the next question is how do you bring the Heroes for Hire to the small screen. There is no point in reinventing the wheel here, just do a buddy cop show that centers around two guys who happen to be super powered; think Tango and Cash but on TV. When one of your main character’s tagline is “Sweet Christmas” you are ripe for some decent comedic elements. Iron Fist’s martial arts background can easily be translated and look impressive. Mix invincible strong man and martial art expert and have them fighting street thugs and you got yourselves a winner. Cop shows are incredibly popular right now (CSI, Law & Order, etc.) why not capitalize on this phenomenon while adding a twist that the others just don’t have.
Previously I mentioned that Heroes for Hire was a perfect choice for a television adaptation. However, I believe there is another character who would work just as well. This character unfortunately is not currently owned by Marvel Studios so this is just a pipe dream, but hear me out. Imagine a weekly Daredevil TV show under the guise of a legal drama. Matt Murdock, blind lawyer by day, vigilante for justice by night. This could be amazing. Give the show a gritty feel with good actors and this could be a law show that people actually care about. Daredevil has no super powers so he doesn’t need to rely heavily on CGI. He is excellent at martial arts and parkour. The wire work he does with his cane could be done with some practical effects, but some CGI to back it up would be warranted. However, the character of Matt Murdock is so tormented by his life that you could keep the average viewer’s attention without putting the man in the suit constantly. Daredevil battles crime bosses not aliens (for the most part) or giant mechs. He is a swashbuckling hero from Hell’s Kitchen, it could totally work.
Last but certainly not least is a very obvious guy, Frank Castle AKA The Punisher. With three critically panned movies it might be high time for Frank to make the move to the small screen. While I do think if done properly The Punisher could be awesome in a Marvel Knights movie I think TV is a great place for him as well. However, there is no way to do a proper Punisher TV show on ABC. This one would have to be on FX, HBO, Cinemax, or Showtime. He would require a world where violence is almost always the solution, that is not ABC. I think Frank Castle would best fit on Showtime right after Dexter. That’s a nice revenge block on violent TV. I’m sure Dexter fans would be into it.
We discussed this very topic on The Nerdpocalypse podcast this week, here. So what do you think Marvel’s next move into television should be? Let us know in the comments section.