It’s a busy pilot season for DC Comics. They have seven different properties that are in development during this pilot season. That’s good news right?
Well, not exactly. Just because something is in development doesn’t mean that a pilot will get shot. Starman was developed for a series, but never actually got a pilot shot. Global Frequency famously had a pilot shot, but it wasn’t picked up by the network. And Powers has been in development at FX for years with at least one pilot having been shot.
And outside of that, even famous properties aren’t guaranteed a series commitment. Last year a series based on Beverly Hills Cop was one of the most buzzed about pilots, but the network declined to take it to series.
So, how do the current properties that DC has in development measure up? Which shows stand the best shot at getting picked up? I’ll do my best to offer up my thoughts.
Preacher has a lot of things going for it. First off it’s being spearheaded by the immensely in-demand duo of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. Secondly, Breaking Bad’s Sam Catlin has been tapped to be the showrunner. And lastly, AMC is the network developing it.
Since it’s AMC there’s a very good chance that the show will make it to series. AMC doesn’t order that many pilots, and most of what it orders end up with series commitments. Also, AMC has had a resounding success with The Walking Dead and Preacher seems like a good show to compliment their breakout hit. Lastly, the addition of Sam Catlin is a very good sign because AMC seems very eager to keep anything related to Breaking Bad (see: Better Call Saul.)
Of course two of the trademarks of Preacher were the graphic violence and the colorful language, neither of which will get the full-blown treatment on basic cable AMC. It’ll be watered down, but it’ll probably still be good.
Based on the success of Arrow, The CW went all in on the superhero craze and set up a pilot for Hourman. The story deviates from the comic in that the lead character discovers that the visions that have plagued him since childhood are actually glimpses of an hour into the future. He embarks on a journey of redemption, trying to win back his ex-wife and son, by trying to prevent his visions from coming to pass.
Dan Lin, Jennifer Gwartz and Michael Caleo will executive produce the show, with Caleo writing the pilot script. While they are respectable names, they don’t really have the sway to bring a project to fruition.
Since a) it’s based on a relatively obscure character and b) deviates from the character as it appears in print, I genuinely think Hourman will be a tough sell. Think about it like this, the Catwoman movie strayed pretty far from the source material and how’d that turn out?
To make matters worse, both Gotham and The Flash are progressing with casting, but not a peep of news about Hourman has slipped out since it was announced. Things are looking pretty grim for Hourman.
Prognosis: Not Good
The CW gets into the Vertigo business with iZombie. Where the comic was a fun and relatively lighthearted book, when it becomes a tv show there will be some changes. First off as opposed to being a gravedigger, Gwen will be med student/zombie who gets a coroner’s office gig to maintain her humanity via eating brains. Of course a side effect of the brain eating means that Gwen experiences their memories and has to solve their murders in order to get their voices out of her head.
It’s going to be set up as a procedural (which sadly probably means no Ellie or Scott) But on the plus side, Rob Thomas and Diane Rugiero will be writing the pilot and producing the show. (As someone who just finished Veronica Mars‘ first season, I’m very excited about those two being attached.)
Based on the involvement of Thomas and Rugiero and the show’s concept it’s already drawing comparisons to two cult shows; Veronica Mars and Pushing Daisies. Anyone who knows those shows will be happy, but will a network, especially the one that cancelled Veronica Mars in the first place?
The Flash was originally supposed to get a backdoor pilot episode Arrow, but it was quickly announced that the show would receive it’s own pilot. Most of the cast set including Jesse L. Martin as Barry Allen’s father figure and John Wesley Shipp, the lead in the 90’s version of The Flash, as a mystery character. The CW certainly deserves credit for making the West family Black.
The Flash also has some big names behind the scenes too. Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kresiberg and Geoff Johns are all producing the pilot and David Nutter will directed it. The CW is certainly trying to build on the popularity of Arrow and seems to be directing it toward The Flash.
Pardon the pun, but The Flash seems to be moving full speed ahead. I don’t mean to dash anyone’s hopes but I do want to toss some caution into the wind; both Greg Berlanti and Geoff Johns were producers of the Green Lantern movie. That’s a fact.
Finally a show that’s not being produced by The CW. SyFy has ordered a pilot for DMZ. No actors have been attached yet, but Andre and Marie Jacquemetton are writing the script and producing the show along with David Heyman. The Jacquemettons are coming off of six seasons of Mad Men while Heyman produced Gravity.
Based on what’s been announced DMZ seems to be hewing close to the source material. Matty Roth will still be the lead and it will still take place in war torn Manhattan.
On one hand this is the first project for the Jacquemettons, post Mad Men, so people want to work with them. Obviously comics are a big deal and SyFy seems like a good fit for a comic adaptation. On the other hand of all the basic cable shows, SyFy is the one that seems to suffer from cheap looking products the most. Still, DMZ is very much a character driven story, with the occasional action sequence.
Fox has already given a series commitment to Gotham. It’s part of the network’s new approach to picking up shows and eschewing the whole pilot season format. It seems like every couple of days there’s a new story about characters on the show getting cast.
Gotham is set after the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne and focuses on a rookie cop by the name of James Gordon. It will deal with the rise of crime in Gotham with such notable Gotham Rogues as Penguin and The Riddler set to appear.
Bruno Heller is the show’s creator and executive producer and a small writing room is already breaking episodes for the entire season. Fox has completely committed to this show.
NBC’s getting into the comic book business with Constantine. Based on the star of Hellblazer, Constantine will feature a blond Brit in the lead role, which means it won’t be tied to movie staring Keanu Reeves.
David S. Goyer and Daniel Cerone will be producing it and writing the script, which will focus on the con man turned reluctant supernatural detective. Goyer has a ton of successful adaptations to his name, which should give fans of John Constantine hope.
On the less than optimistic side, NBC is still committed to the traditional pilot season, meaning they order a ton of scripts and decide where to go from there. Also, tonally Constantine might be a tough sell for NBC’s lineup. That said the network is struggling, which means it may be more apt to take risks.
And there you have my take on the seven DC properties that have pilots in development this pilot season. Do you have any thoughts on the shows? Which one do you want to see most?
Anyway, it’s Wednesday, go out and get some piping hot comics from your local comic shop.
Tags: AMC, CW, DC Entertainment, Fox, NBC, Wednesday Comments