Wednesday Comments – Five Other Vertigo Books That Should Be Shows

So, by now everyone should be aware that a television series based on the Vertigo title Lucifer is in development at Fox. It joins other DC properties Preacher, DMZ, Supergirl and Titans in development, with Gotham, Constantine and The Flash ready to make their debut this Fall, with iZombie waiting in the wings.

I haven’t read Lucifer yet. I’ve got the first half o the trades, but I’m waiting to start the book until after I’ve finished Sandman, given that it’s a follow up. But hopefully I’ll be fully caught up by the time it makes it to air, should the series get picked up.

But the news about Lucifer got me thinking; what other Vertigo properties would make good television series? So I decided to devote the column this week to my pondering.

First up is Angeltown. This 2005 noir miniseries is pretty underrated in my book. It ran underneath the radar for most readers. It only lasted five issues, but it could easily be used as a launching pad for a series.

Angeltown tells the tale of Nate Hollis, an L.A. private detective who investigates the case of professional basketball player, who disappeared after the murder of his ex wife. It details the seedy side of L.A. and all that entails.

Angeltown featured a multi-ethnic cast of characters, which would be a perfect fit for a cable channel looking to diversify things. I say cable channel, because of the bevity of the source material, Angeltown would play better as an 8-10 episode season, with the producers then being allowed to tell their own stories from that point forward.

The next Vertigo property I think would be a great fit on television is Sandman Mystery Theatre. Period shows used to be taboo, but now, thanks to advancements in technology, they aren’t as cost prohibitive as they used to be, which is why Sandman Mystery Theatre makes sense right now.

It’s a pretty simple adaptation, you tell the tale of Dian Belmont and Wesley Dodds. The comic lays everything out perfectly, all that needs to happen is for it to be translated ot the screen.

Masters of Sex, Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire and Manhattan have all received a great deal of acclaim and audiences certainly seem receptive to period specific shows. And SMT dealt with themes and issues in a historical context, which would certainly resonate with viewers.

I feel this would again work best on cable, so that it wouldn’t have anything muted in terms of content. But in terms of story and structure, it could still work as a network show. Really, I just want to see it happen.

I think that Unknown Soldier would be an important show to make. And when I say Unknown Soldier, I mean the Moses Lwanga version of the character. The book is just as topical now it was six years ago.

The story of Moses Lwanga dealing with his violent tendencies, set in the backdrop of war torn Uganda, would be a show that would get people talking and hopefully for the right reasons.

It would be a tough sell, because Americans really aren’t that interested in anything that happens in the entirety of Africa, but I feel like if some prominent Black celebrities got behind this show, it could find success. And again, I see it as a cable show.

One show I could see on network television is Jonny Double. It’s a show that would find it’s basis in the Vertigo miniseries, but like Angeltown, the producers and writers would be able to create their own tales from there.

Jonny Double is a P.I. in San Francisco who gets embroiled in a mystery involving stolen mob money and an Al Capone back account. And honestly, you could set the mini up as the first six episodes of the series and then go on from there. Naturally, you’d have to alter the ending of the mini a bit, but it wouldn’t dramatically affect things.

But you could set Jonny Double up with a few different formats. You could set up two 11 episode arcs per season, or you could do four 5 episode arcs with a two part season finale. Jonny Double with fit well on network television.

My final suggestion for a Vertigo tv show isn’t a new one. In fact it’s been done twice before; Human Target. Hear me out.

Neither version of Human Target worked with the Vertigo material. The ABC show pre-dated the Vertigo take and the Fox show took a more lighthearted approach. I think Human Target deserves another shot, but this time following the source material relatively closely.

My vision of Human Target would be to combine the first mini and Final Cut into the first season of the show (on cable, naturally). That would leave you with a natural cliffhanger for the first season.

From there you work the regular series into four seasons of television. I think it would work well on either HBO or AMC and I could even see it on FX. It’s a complex story, but I think it’d work and could really find an audience, provided the most reason attempt at adapting it hasn’t soured everyone on the concept.

There you have it, those are the five Vertigo concepts that I’d like to see adapted into television shows. Are there any Vertigo shows you’d like to see on the small screen?

Anyway, it’s Wednesday, so go out and pick up some fresh new comics from your local comic shop.

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