When it comes to superhero properties, Booster Gold is far from the public consciousness. Fans of Smallville may recognize the character thanks to a guest appearance in the tenth season, but most people wouldnt have the slightest idea who he is. This lack of mainstream appeal makes the SyFy channels recent order for a Booster Gold TV Pilot
seem a bit risky. Considering that a character like Wonder Woman with a rich history and high recognition couldnt get a show off the ground, things dont look very promising for Booster, a character with a ridiculous name that nobody knows. However, this may work in the characters favor, providing the production team with looser restrictions. Fans have a strong sense of how characters like Batman and Green Lantern should be depicted on screen, but it feels that people are just glad Booster is getting a shot at all. And if any character would appreciate exposure regardless of the incarnation, it would be Booster Gold. Booster Golds relative status as an unknown has a long history. As a disgraced former athlete in the far future, Michael Jon Carter steals future technology and goes back to our time with the hope of becoming a famous superhero. When he arrives, though, he finds its not as simple as he anticipated. His glory seeking nature earns him scorn from other heroes and while he succeeds in gaining endorsement deals and appearing in television commercials, his legacy is reduced to purveyor of cheap wares rather than famous hero. Its a tale with a lesson that intentions matter as much or more than actions do. Clothes dont make the man, even when those clothes make than man shoot laser beams. More recently the character was re-imagined as a sort of super powered Sam Beckett from Quantum Leap, righting wrongs and protecting history from those who would abuse the power of time travel. He ends up doing very heroic things and saving the world, but his deeds go unnoticed and unmentioned, providing a real dilemma for a character who craves attention: obscurity. The tagline for his comic series even reflected this: The Greatest Hero Youve Never Heard Of. Its that obscurity that will permit SyFy to make whatever changes they see fit, but there are some things we hope they dont change.
Origin of the Name
Booster Golds own name illustrates his inability to get things right. Michael Jon Carters nickname from his days as a football star was Booster. When stealing his super suit, noting the color scheme and chest symbol, Carter elects to call himself Goldstar, but upon arrival in the past and after his first successful rescue, he stumbles over his words, saying Booster- uh, I mean Gold-- leading to the unglamorous moniker that were so familiar with. This is a very important part of the character and absolutely must be included in the pilot. It says so much about Booster and his struggle for respect.
Along with the suit he stole from the future, Booster also kidnaps a hovering artificially intelligent security robot named Skeets, who becomes his sidekick and provides him with information based on extensive historical knowledge. When Booster appeared on Smallville, Skeets was reduced to a Bluetooth earpiece. That worked in the context of that show, but in his own series, Skeets needs to appear in a manner that resembles the comics. Weve yet to see Skeets appear in the pages of Justice League International, spinning out of DCs New 52 relaunch, so that doesnt bode well for seeing him on the show; we still think the show would benefit from having a proper robot floating around, making sarcastic comments and acting as a foil for Boosters antics.
Legion Flight Ring
Boosters suit provides him with the ability to shoot energy blasts and create protective force fields, but its another stolen item that allows him to fly. In Boosters time, the Legion of Superheroes are young adventurers who honor the legends of past figures like Superman by wearing colorful costumes and taking on hilarious code names (such as Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl). Each Legionnaire has a Legion Flight Ring, a small gold finger ring with an L insignia on it that, predictably, enables its wearer to defy gravity. Getting into the history of the Legion would be way too much for Boosters show, but giving the actor a Flight Ring prop to be worn with the costume would make a nice Easter egg for fans to spot. It would also show the production team knows the history of the character, whether they acknowledge it aloud or not.
One thing that the Smallville appearance nailed was plastering Boosters costume with logos from his various sponsors, like in NASCAR. It really helps illustrate how shameless Booster is when his superhero career first starts. If the show does succeed and goes on to have multiple seasons, those logos can be phased out as the character evolves into a more heroic person, but for the beginning of his journey, its a simple way to characterize Booster.
It seems a lot of people who adapt superheroes are afraid of the childishness that is (inappropriately) associated with comics and end up making the characters very serious with grim and gritty stories that are devoid of any joy (for example, the short lived Flash TV series from the early 90s). Yes, that type of storytelling works well with a character like Batman, but someone like Booster Gold requires a good deal of humor. (Of course, the lighthearted approach can be disastrous as well. Look no further than Shaquille ONeals Steel for an example of humor gone wrong.) If the people behind the show take Booster too seriously itll be a tremendous disservice to the character, especially one with such a rich history of comedic story telling. Above all, the show should make viewers feel like theyre having as much fun as Booster is. Are there any Booster fans out there? What are you hoping for from the new show?