Over the last fifteen years, comic book adaptations have been met with an incredible amount of success on the big screen. Though superhero films existed before (Richard Donner’s Superman films, the Batman films, etc.), films like Blade, X-Men, and Spider-Man helped pave the way for a superhero genre, which didn’t exist until recently.
Now, comic book characters are being treated seriously and each summer is dominated by superhero franchises, which continue to push the limits both in terms of quality and box office returns. Marvel’s The Avengers and Iron Man 3 have solidified their place on the list of the highest grossing films of all time (third and fifth, respectively), and Christopher Nolan’s critically acclaimed Dark Knight Trilogy grossed nearly 3 billion dollars from 2005-2012.
Though Arrow is gearing up for its second season, and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is set to premiere this fall, it’s impossible not to notice the lack of comic book properties on the small screen. TV immediately seems like a more fitting medium for them than film, due to the same serialized storytelling and emphasis on world-building that you get with comic books.
It’s also easier to flesh out storylines, build upon characters, and reach an audience weekly, rather than just during the summer blockbuster season. Some characters would even fare better on the small screen than they would in a movie of their own.
Both Arrow and S.H.I.E.L.D. are interesting templates that future shows could follow. Arrow’s grounded approach to its hero is highly accessible to general audiences. S.H.I.E.L.D.’s mission of tying in to Marvel’s cinematic universe offers a unique opportunity for the show to flesh out characters and stories that may not make it into feature films.
Whether it’s DC or Marvel, the idea of expanding their respective universes through television shows is an exciting prospect, with limitless possibilities for tie-ins and crossovers. In turn, this will allow for a more rich and intricately woven viewing experience. The expansion of these characters will reverberate through both film and television.
Here are 10 characters who deserve television shows of their own…
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