Thursday, February 28, 2013

Comic Book TV Shows

There's no doubt one of the hottest trends in Hollywood over the past 5-10 years has been the Superhero blockbuster.  They seem to be unflappable; from the lower budget, but still profit-turning fare like Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengenace (seemed like a flop, but it grossed $132 million with a budget of $57 mil) all the way up to the mega-success The Avengers.  It doesn't take a genius, billionaire, playboy philanthropist to see their almost unlimited potential.

That said, it baffles me as to why Marvel won't go the route of a superhero tv show.  I know they have  S.H.I.E.L.D. show in the works, but why not go further.  The groundwork is all there.  Disney owns Marvel.  Disney owns ABC.  ABC is constantly searching for hour-long dramas that will draw an audience.  The already used Disney properties for the fairy-tale hit Once Upon a Time.  Why not option a superhero show?  CGI effects have gotten better looking and cheaper to do.  There's no shortage of superheroes in the Marvel stable that aren't quite big enough for movies, but could easily carry a tv audience.  Seems like a perfect opportunity to make it happen.

It's worked in the past

Heck, DC already had successes in the recent past with Smallville and now Arrow (which both air(ed) on the CW network, owned by Warner Bros., which conveniently also owns DC Comics).  For God's sake, Smallville ran for 10 seasons.  10!  Even further back, Marvel found success with The Incredible Hulk.  Sci-Fi's Alphas has a nice audience with original un-licensed heroes.  It can and does work.

Batma...err... Green Arrow

Let's look at Arrow.  The Green Arrow isn't a marquee superhero.  He's a guy with no powers.  He's just an excellent archer. He doesn't fight planet-level threats, he's more of a street-level hero.  He's pretty much a low-rent Batman with a bow.  All aspects that lend themselves better to a tv show rather than a big-screen movie.

So, here's my pitch for a Marvel superhero tv show:

Luke Cage and Iron Fist: Heroes for Hire

Try and guess which one is the Iron Fist

Two street-level superheroes.  One a martial arts expert with a Batman-esque personal history (rich, dead parents).  The other a reformed drug dealer with super strength and impenetrable skin. They formed an unlikely partnership and decide to put their skills to use helping those who's problems aren't big enough for the likes of The Avengers, but are too much for the cops to handle.  New cases each week with some overarching plots.  Think of each episode like it's own comic issue.  

The effects aren't hard to do on tv... martial arts with the occasional flaming fist or foot.  And super strength is easy to accomplish with light cgi or wires.  (Heck Sci-Fi's Alphas does super strength on a shoe-string budget just fine)  Let's face it, Power Man and Iron fist are likely never getting a big movie.  They'd be side characters in a Daredevil film at best.  But on tv they can shine.  The show sets up like a cop drama serial, but with more interesting villains (Kingpin as a Mastermind?).  And again, there's no shortage of B-C-list villains to use.  Plus you have the added personal drama of Luke Cage being a married Superhero with an infant child.   

If this had been titled 'The Incredibles', would it have tanked?

Now I know ABC already tried their hand with No Ordinary Family, which flopped.  But that series was too light-hearted, and it had no name recognition.  This would be grittier, and have known heroes.  NBC's Heroes was great for a season.  The problem there was they didn't stick with the plan of following totally new heroes for the second season, which hurt the planned storyline.  Then the writer's strike finally killed any interesting plot lines.  

Good show gone wrong

Now, I'm clearly biased being a comic book fan.  And I know a lot of people are getting plain sick of the superhero movie trend.  But come on, why not take a chance on a new medium.  Successful tv shows don't have to be Shakespeare.  Do you know what the top-rated dramas on tv are? ...


NCIS and CSI: Los Angeles

Put it on at 8:00 and you'll draw viewers who are kids, kids at heart, and a lot of the people who'll watch cop shows in general.  I don't think any kids watch NCIS.  Marc Harmon isn't that popular. 

So come on Disney/ABC execs, let's actually use some of those assets.  

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

New Looks at Upcoming Amazing Spider-Man 2 Movie

Seems like there's been a lot leaked this week about 'Amazing Spider-Man 2'.  It had previously been announced that Jamie Foxx will play the villain Electro and Paul Giamatti will portray The Rhino.  Now we're seeing that Peter Parker will don a new and improved costume, one closer to the comic version than in the previous film.
New costume on the left

Note in particular the eyes on the costume.  I think with the first film being an origin, the costume was meant to look more homemade and amateurish.  Presumably in the sequel Spider-Man will be an established hero who's had a little more time to work on his outfit.  I love the new look, a lot closer to the comic version.  Definitely more of a "friendly neighborhood Spider-Man", one who looks like he could crack a joke as he's cracking bad guys' bones rather than looking angry and angsty.

Shailene Woodley with red hair for her role as Mary Jane Watson

Also released this week were some off-set photos of Shailene Woodley with red hair for her portrayal of Mary Jane Watson.  Woodley had previously garnered attention for her role in 'The Descendants'.  I know what you're thinking, "I thought Mary Jane was supposed to be some model knockout!".  Relax, the paps just caught Shailene on an off day.  She cleans up quite nicely:

But you can get an idea of how she'll look in the movie.  I just wonder what they'll do with her character. Will Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy break up so soon after the first film?  Will something happen to Gwen?!  We'll have to wait and see.

Also confirmed for the cast, is British actress Felicity Jones.  At this point it's only speculation as to which role she'll play, but rumor has it she'll play Felicia Hardy, friend of Peter's who eventually becomes the Black Cat.  Whether the Cat will show up in the movie or just Felicia is also up in the air.  As a villain/anti-hero/ love interest of Spidey, adding her to the mix in this film could make for a little too much of a tangled web.
Felicity Jones as Felicia Hardy?

The Black Cat

Also joining the cast as a new character is Dane DeHann, who was excellent as the main character in 'Chronicle'.  He'll play the role of Harry Osborn, who had been portrayed in the original franchise by James Franco.  We know he eventually becomes a villain, but was first Peter's friend.  I can't imagine he'll be anything more than that in this film. 

Dane DeHann as Harry Osborn

With all of these new characters being introduced as well as Jamie Foxx and Paul Giamatti, already announced as the villains, it's clear the producers are already setting up for a third film.  

I like the casting choices, love the new costume.  It'll be interesting to hear what the real plot of this film will be as production moves further along towards its release in 2014.  I just hope we don't end up with a jumbled mess of tangential plotlines and too many villains like the third Raimi film.  

Monday, February 25, 2013

Half-Baked Movie Ideas: The Right to Bear Arms

Now I know the Second Amendment has been a hot-button issue lately, so I've got a great new idea for a movie... bear with me on this one.

Jim Ursus is a hotshot cop on the rise in the FBI.  He's working a case on the heels of some illegal arms dealers.  He's tracked them do a distribution center located high in the Rocky Mountains where he's doing surveillance.  Representatives from a Miami drug cartel are there to broker a deal for some high-powered automatic rifles.  Jim witnesses a cartel member testing the guns out on some of the local wildlife.  It tears a grizzly bear apart.

Outraged, Jim lets out a muffled groan.  In an instant he's sealed his fate; the gun runners heard him.  Jim calls for backup but they're too far out.  Before they can assist him, the head Cartel member gets his hands on Agent Ursus.  In a Robocop-level display of graphic violence, the Cartel member shoots round after round into Jim's upper limbs as he writhes in pain.  "Let that be a lesson to your Feds, chico.  You can't lay a finger on us", quips the Miami drug enforcer.

Backup finally arrives all too late.  Jim's near death, nothing left of his arms but ground beef.  Something drastic needs to be done to save his life.  "Too much blood loss, we have to act NOW"  shouts an FBI doctor.  Desperate for a solution, the doctor surveys the scene.  He eventually lays eyes on the slaughtered grizzly bear, "God help us, this might just work."

Waking from the trauma, Agent Ursus is groggy.  He reaches for a glass of water and knocks it clumsily to the ground, only to discover...


Oh, just think of the puns you could make with this grizzled veteran as he hunts for revenge against illegal arms dealers/drug cartels.

Tell me this wouldn't be an amazingly great bad movie.  It has everything:  it's topical, it'll have great action scenes, exotic locales, a guy with bear arms, either a nurse/veterinarian/wildlife preservationist love interest, we'll try to throw Steven Seagal in there somewhere.  It would run at 3:00am on crappy cable channels FOREVER.  

I'll be waiting for your calls studio execs.

Back from the Dead?

Can a zombie blog come back from the dead?  Sure.  I know I haven't posted anything since October, but I'm hoping to get back to it with at least a post a week.