CRI­SIS ON IN­FI­NITE CHAN­NELS

As Joseph McCabe dis­cov­ers, DC’s su­per­heroes are in­vad­ing TV …

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Superhero TV -

Start­ing with the Oc­to­ber 2012 launch of Ar­row and con­tin­u­ing with the cur­rent de­but sea­son of its spin- off se­ries The Flash, DC En­ter­tain­ment’s char­ac­ters are rac­ing to the small screen at a rate that would leave even the scar­let speed­ster speech­less.

“Maybe this is naive,” says Ar­row’s Marc Guggen­heim – who, with fel­low ex­ec­u­tive pro­duc­ers Greg Ber­lanti and An­drew Kreis­berg, brought the DCU to TV – “but I be­lieve if you cre­ate a show that res­onates with peo­ple, they’ll watch. As long as a show is good, it’ll find the au­di­ence.”

Guggen­heim tells SFX he never imag­ined so many DC sta­ples would find their way to TV so quickly. But their migration, he says, has been borne out of ne­ces­sity. He cites Bran­don Routh’s Atom — on whom a spin- off show has been dis­cussed — as one ex­am­ple.

“We started out want­ing some­one on Ar­row who was tech- based, who was very in­tel­li­gent, who would be a nice foil for Oliver Queen and a po­ten­tial love in­ter­est for Felic­ity. Orig­i­nally our in­ten­tion was to make that Ted Kord, the Blue Bee­tle in the comics. But DC said they had other plans for him, and sug­gested Ray Palmer. We were like, ‘ Wow, Ray works per­fectly.’ Be­cause Ray, in the comics, is a very in­tel­li­gent guy. So we re­ally do start with the char­ac­ter as op­posed to the su­per­hero.”

For­tu­nately, the DCU has no short­age of char­ac­ters. In ad­di­tion to Atom, Flash and Ar­row view­ers have met Wild­cat, Katana, Ra’s al Ghul, Ar­se­nal, two Black Ca­naries, Sui­cide Squad, the Hun­tress, Death­stroke, and most of the Flash’s rogues’ gallery. And later this year Guggen­heim will pro­duce the an­i­mated Vixen for Warner Broth­ers’ CW Seed web­site, the first se­ries set within the DCTVU to head­line a black woman.

“Vixen’s pow­ers are based in magic,” ex­plains Guggen­heim. “So there’s al­ready a qual­ity about her that is dif­fer­ent. Which not only gives the Vixen se­ries its own iden­tity, but it also gives Barry and Oliver’s char­ac­ters some­thing in­ter­est­ing to re­act against. One of the things I find in­ter­est­ing is that it’s Oliver who’s quicker to ac­cept Vixen’s ex­is­tence than Barry. Barry’s a man of science who al­ways ex­pects there to be a sci­en­tific ex­pla­na­tion to things, whereas Oliver has lived a life and he’s seen that there are some things that aren’t ex­plain­able by science. So it’s an in­ter­est­ing dy­namic shift for th­ese char­ac­ters.”

ex­pand­ing hori­zons

Warner Bros will up the ante by de­but­ing a Ber­lanti- pro­duced live- ac­tion se­ries ( on CBS State­side) based on an­other DC hero­ine: Su­per­girl – star­ring Melissa Benoist as Su­per­man’s cousin Kara Zor- El of Kryp­ton and Me­hcad Brooks as Jimmy Olsen.

“We’re watch­ing an evo­lu­tion with re­gard to the way su­per­hero char­ac­ters are por­trayed,” said CBS chair­man Nina Tassler at this win­ter’s Tele­vi­sion Crit­ics As­so­ci­a­tion press tour. “What we did re­spond to was the char­ac­ter’s hu­man­ity, the other char­ac­ters, the story tra­jec­tory and the char­ac­ter’s arc and growth.”

While it’s still un­de­ter­mined if Su­per­girl will, un­like Fox’s Bat­man Uni­verse- bound Gotham, cross over with Flash and Ar­row ( at the press tour Ber­lanti said maybe, while Tassler said CBS would “keep Su­per­girl to our­selves for awhile”), plans re­main for a Ber­lanti- pro­duced Booster Gold se­ries ( for Syfy) and an Akiva Golds­man- pro­duced Teen Ti­tans show, called Ti­tans ( for TNT).

“The na­ture of net­work tele­vi­sion is cycli­cal,” adds Guggen­heim. “Pro­ce­du­rals used to be on ev­ery sin­gle net­work; now net­works are hav­ing a dif­fi­cult time launch­ing pro­ce­du­rals. We just hap­pen to be living in a golden age of comic- book tele­vi­sion.”

One of DC’s fe­male he­roes brought to life, Black Ca­nary.

Seems like this fella is re­spon­si­ble for giv­ing lots of other DC char­ac­ters a break.

The Flash man­aged to fit into Ar­row’s uni­verse nicely.

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