Can you have too much of a good thing? When it comes to superheroes, the TV networks don’t think so. Starting today, we’ll have three more comic book-based series joining the likes of “Arrow,” “The Flash,” and the upcoming “Supergirl.” Trends like these eventually lead to cheap knockoffs, but these new shows from Netflix, The CW, and TNT hold plenty of exciting potential for superhero fans.
“Daredevil” – Netflix
This isn’t Ben Affleck’s “Daredevil,” though I never hated that one as much as most critics seemed to. The new series about our blind hero has more of a stripped-down, gritty feel. Rather than what a friend of mine calls “flashy violence,” it looks like we’ll be getting more hardcore martial arts action. Kick-ass veteran actor Scott Glenn (The “Bourne” franchise and “Training Day”) promises scenes that could surpass “Arrow.”
“‘Daredevil’ is probably the most stunt-heavy TV series ever shot,” Glenn, who plays mentor Stick in the series, said, “The trick for me was being able to incorporate action that was really on the edge of Hong Kong Bruce Lee stuff.”
With Vincent D’Onofrio in the role of the villain Kingpin, we know it won’t be all about physical fights. The method actor was excited about the emotional complexity of his role, and dialogue which allows him to be “be a child or a monster within one or two sentences.” He’ll be a worthy foe to the justice-seeking Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox), whose lack of sight makes him more sensitive to all the other ways people reveal the truth.
“Daredevil” starts today, April 10, with all 13 episodes available for download on Netflix. This clip reveals the noir atmosphere, a little history, and some incredible baton-fighting. There’s also a nice shot of Cox’s well-defined abs, which further illustrate the level of training that went into this new show. You’ve got competition, Stephen Amell.
“Arrow”/”The Flash” Spin-off Series – The CW
The CW had good luck with its crossover episodes involving two of its hottest properties, so they’ve decided to expand the idea. Details are still a bit hazy, but the ensemble cast will borrow from existing shows and add a few new characters. The series will also have its own personality. “As different as “Flash” feels from “Arrow,” this new show will feel different from both of them,” producer Andrew Kreisberg said about the new series.
The exciting news about the spin-off is the casting. Brandon Routh is finally getting another shot at comic character greatness after that old “Superman” movie let him down. He’ll most likely be the center of this new series, reprising his “Arrow” character Ray Palmer/The Atom. “The Flash” deadly duo Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller) and Heat Wave (Dominic Purcell) will also appear. They’ll be joined by at least one half of Firestorm, Dr. Martin Stein (Victor Garber).
What has most fans talking is “Arrow” alum Caity Lotz appearing on the roster. Since her character Sara, a.k.a. The Black Canary, died on the series, it will be interesting to see if she’s resurrected or cast as a completely new character. Other exciting news includes former “Doctor Who” companion Arthur Darvill as a “roguish time traveler.” Newbie Broadway actress Ciara Renee stars as Hawkgirl.
The planned release date is midseason 2016, so keep an eye out later this year for some introductory clues to the new series on “Arrow” and “The Flash.”
“Titans” – TNT
If you’re wishing we had more awesome women characters on TV, this will be the show for you. Though this team of young superheroes is led by Batman sidekick Robin (later Nightwing), the current character list includes Raven, Starfire, and Dove. We’ll also get tech expert Barbara Gordon, who was formerly Batgirl but is now confined to a wheelchair. With Beast Boy and Cyborg not currently included, we’ve got a female-heavy cast, which is fine by me.
In this version, Robin’s dual identity has him as costumed crusader and a Boston detective. Since his history is so tied up with Batman’s, there’s a definite possibility we’ll see the dark knight make at least a cameo appearance in the series.
TNT shows can tend to be a bit campy, so this series may end up on the lighter side of current comic book offerings. The worry is that the effects might not live up to the new standards viewers have grown accustomed to. This may also be why a CGI-heavy Beast Boy hasn’t been included.
The script going around for the show is co-written by Akiva Goldsman, who has plenty of experience with this genre, but mixed reviews for his work. Take your pick of “A Beautiful Mind,” “I, Robot,” “The Da Vinci Code,” “Batman & Robin,” and “Fringe.” Since even the cartoon series “Teen Titans” captured a mix of fun action and deeper emotions, I’m hoping this new show will aspire to at least that level.
These three new series will collectively add a crowd of costumed crime-fighters, ingenious villains, and dauntingly clever weapons to the virtual TV universe. We’re going to need air traffic control for superheroes soon, but this could be the one kind of traffic jam we’ll actually enjoy.
Photo Credit: Barry Wetcher © 2014 Netflix, Inc. All rights reserved