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Saturday, October 26, 2013

EDITORIAL: Six Franchises That Need To Be On Television






Sorry for the insult. As (hopefully) a lot of you will know, the word "bitch" is the catchphrase of the character of Jesse Pinkman, one of the main roles in the now-ended Breaking Bad. I don't need to go into detail about how incredible that show is, since just about everybody on the planet knows it. An opinion shared by many (and myself), BrBa is better and more cinematic than the majority of movies playing in theaters nowadays. Along with Game of Thrones, Mad Men, Homeland, The Walking Dead and dozens more, television has replaced the movies as the place to be for true art and entertainment. That's also an opinion shared by many.

The studios are slowly coming to realise this too. Marvel already has Agents of SHIELD on the air, with five more television shows coming on cable/streaming networks (!!!). DC has Arrow, with Gotham, Constantine and The Flash all scheduled to be hitting the small screen within the next 1-2 years. The sequel to American Psycho is being put on television. A modern-day re-imaging of Les Miserables is being produced over at Fox.

Long story short, TV rocks.

The reason all of those hot properties that could be made into films are hitting on television instead is simple. TV allows for a longer duration for a story, more time to develop characters and plotlines, fantastic actors that don't ask for huge paydays, ever-growing budgets and more. Then there's the movie side of things. In today's cinema landscape, with seemingly hundreds of $200m blockbusters swamping the theaters every year, which medium is better and easier to produce an American Psycho sequel on: TV or film? What about Dredd? The list goes on. Television can also be a way for studios to put out sequels and explore already-established franchises further without spending millions of dollars on something that might bomb.

And that's the reason why I'm writing this today. A few weeks ago, a sequel to the Bradley Cooper-starring sci-fi thriller Limitless was put into development.

On TV.

Last week, news broke that Marvel were preparing a package deal for four new TV series, and a miniseries, totaling 60 episodes, to shop around to different cable networks and streaming services like Netflix and Hulu.

These two pieces of news inspired me to think of some other franchises that could be put to better use on television. Believe me, there's lots, but I had to whittle it down to six. Hopefully some of the suggestion on this list will surprise you, and hopefully you'll agree and call me a visionary and worship me an-

Disregard that part.

Let's get going, shall we?


I know what you're thinking. "omgz dis gy is so stoopidd clvrfild wud b 2 xpesive lolz #SWAG". Well, that's probably what you're thinking. But it can be done. Cloverfield was an extremely hyped-up and secretive found-footage monster movie released in 2008, directed by Matt Reeves (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) ,written by Drew Goddard (The Cabin in the Woods) and produced by JJ Abrams (you know who he is). The movie rocked. It was scary, tense, new and helped popularize the vomit-inducing slew of found-footage movies we've had over the years. However pretty much all the crew involved moved on to bigger and better things, so the promise of a sequel and some answers to what the actual fuck happened in this movie have been lying dormant and occasionally brought up in the odd interview or two for the past five years. 

Is a sequel happening? No, probably not. It's too late now. Hey, you wanna know where the sequel could go? TV! Bet you didn't guess that one. The show would explore the aftermath of a world where a giant monster fell out of the sky and leveled Manhattan, and probably some more places which we didn't see. Thousands of 2-3ft baby monsters are crawling around the city's subway and surface. What would a world like this be like? What are the army doing to stop it? Is the monster dead? Will it come back? Where did it come from in the first place?

The show has potential for at least a season, on a channel like HBO - which would give it the budget and cut the episode number down from 24 to 10 - and could maybe go on after that. However, if not, then a miniseries would work just as well. Tell me, would you really be against a miniseries about the aftermath of an alien invasion with names like JJ Abrams and Drew Goddard attached? On HBO?

Of course you wouldn't be.


Unlike the previous, this is something that's actually in development. As you all know, Disney bought LucasFilm nearly a year ago for a gillion bazillion dollars and will release Star Wars Episode VII in 2015, with two more Episodes and lots of spin-off movies to come. Yay! However, before the sale, George Lucas and co were prepping a cool-sounding live-action TV show set in between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. It would focus on the seedy underworld of the galaxy, with characters like Boba Fett popping up. Parts of that idea morphed into the new animated show to replace The Clone Wars, Star Wars: Rebels, which actually doesn't look too bad.

But the fans want a real live-action show, Disney. The universe is so expansive and humongous that anything is possible. They could continue with their underworld idea, do something set during the large gap between Return of the Jedi and Episode VII, or maybe go even further forwards/backwards. They'll probably wait until everything's sorted out with the first of many new movies, though, but once that's done, get on it!


Admittedly, this one's a bit less likely than the previous. Dredd, starring Karl Urban as the titular character, was released this time last year to rave reviews and instant fan love. However, the general public weren't as interested or excited as we were. The movie bombed, basically, and despite great home video sales a sequel still hasn't been put into development. However, a petition started by the character's parent company, 2000 AD, to get movement on a sequel going has grown pretty popular.

But a movie sequel is not a good idea. At all. Yeah, it was awesome, but probably nobody would go and see it and everyone would get depressed again. We don't want that, do we, nerds?

Despite star Karl Urban's movie star status, playing major characters in the new Star Trek films and Lord of the Rings, Urban is playing the lead in a brand new TV series on Fox called Almost Human, about a cop and his android/cyborg/whatever partner. Playing the lead in both this and a Dredd show wouldn't be possible, however a short miniseries in a few years? Totally possible.

Since a movie sequel or spin-off isn't a smart business decision whatsoever, TV is the perfect place to put it. Futuristic cop show? Dark, gritty, and doesn't need a massive budget? Crime/comic-book shows like Arrow (which has become pretty damn good) could be the blueprint for Dredd. As for the broadcaster, HBO would be a sensible suggestion. Or perhaps AMC if they wanted to branch out from zombies and meth kingpins even further. However, the place where this could really shine would be Netflix.

The popular internet catch-up service recently began producing it's own content with House of Cards, starring Kevin Spacey and from the mind of David Fincher. If names like that don't mind doing TV work, then surely Urban and the cast of Dredd wouldn't mind. It could either be a miniseries, or a continuous show and with the creative freedom it would certainly get, being away from networks like ABC, it would definitely thrive and become a success.


For this one you're probably a bit confused and think I'm stupid again. Bear with me readers, it'll make sense. We've all seen Inception, the movie that inspired the "BRRRRMMMM" trailer noise revolution. It was awesome, right? Anyway, at the time of release Chris Nolan talked about how he'd like to make a sequel or spin-off in the form of a video game, which would be excellent and fit the format of the movie really well. However that was three years ago and there's been no movement on a sequel since, with Nolan moving on to other projects.

You know where it could end up? TV!

And no, obviously not with the cast from the movie. Cobb's (DiCaprio) story is over, however there's still infinite potential and characters to be explored in this world. The rest of the cast would probably be game, despite Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Tom Hardy's expanding movie careers. Or if need be the show could focus on an entirely new cast of characters.

The franchise is perfectly do-able on a TV budget. The movie did have large-scale set pieces and action sequences, from the snowy mountains to folding cities, but stuff like that doesn't need to be a part of the show for it to work. At the center of it all, Inception is a crime heist movie. If that story is focused on and carried out on television then success is guaranteed. The other half of the Nolan duo, Jonathan, already works on TV with the successful Person of Interest. Get him or Chris involved as an executive producer and you've got a winner.

As for the broadcaster, either HBO, Netflix or AMC would work well. And in case you hadn't noticed, I'm not the biggest fan of network television. Give it a cool name like Extraction (the professional name for Cobb and co's occupation), develop some smart and slick scripts with great characters and you have a winner.


We all know that Daredevil the movie was pretty terrible. So bad that Fox just sat on the rights for nearly a decade until they reverted back to Marvel this time last year (hooray!). However, since then there's been little movement on the character, with head honcho Kevin Feige only saying stuff which translates to, "Oh... Um... We, uh, like Daredevil and he's cool and we'd um like to do a mov- can we talk about Avengers?". Given the studio's hectic schedule so far, a new movie iteration in the foreseeable future is looking unlikely.

However, as was stated further above news recently broke that Marvel are preparing four new TV shows and a miniseries to shop to cable networks and places like Netflix. Exciting, right? Well, since that news hit fans have been trying to figure out what those shows could include. The suggestions have ranged from obvious ones like The Punisher, to surprising and interesting ones like Winter Soldier (for the miniseries). But, there's one franchise which I definitely think is on that list.

Daredevil. For long-time fans and newer ones, like me, the prospect of a TV series based around the character has been tantalizing for a while now and looks to be finally happening. The universe for him is huge, much bigger than people think; there's so many different stories and characters to explore. Kingpin, Karen Page selling Daredevil's identity to the Kingpin, Matt Murdock ending up in prison, not to mention the easily-do-able villains like Bullseye. As a crime superhero show, Marvel would have something that could rival DC's Arrow. However, with the character of Daredevil also comes a completely different aspect. It's well-known that Murdock's profession is a lawyer, and often in the comics he would defeat and arrest enemies as the Man Without Fear and then testify against them in court so that they would go to prison. 

That's a fantastic set-up for a TV series.

Law and Order is a huge success, and so are Agents of SHIELD and Arrow. Combine the two together and you've struck gold. You've struck even more gold if a quality network like AMC handles it, which is my top choice for the show to air on. With all that being said, there's only one franchise which I feel would benefit more from being on TV, and could bring in the big numbers...


Chronicle. The surprisingly-excellent low-budget found-footage superhero flick which brought in over $100m at the box office when it was released in February last year. It was so successful for Fox that the director Josh Trank has been set to helm their Fantastic Four reboot, and writer Max Landis is writing a new iteration of Frankenstein, starring James McAvoy and set to hit theaters in 2015.

And beware, if you haven't seen the movie don't read on. Spoilers!

I loved this movie. The characters were relatable, the plot was exciting and indie-ish and it was a fresh tale of morality and how power can change and shape you. Unfortunately the two best characters in my opinion, Andrew and Steve (Michael B. Jordan and Dane DeHaan, who both have very successful movie careers) were killed during the film, leaving only one member of the trio, Matt (Alex Russell), who emerged as the "superhero", alive.

But this is a good thing. Russell hasn't had the big success that his fellow cast members had after the movie became a hit, with his biggest role since being in the horror flick Carrie which hit theaters last week. What's also a good thing is the fact that Chronicle 2 is suffering the same fate as Cloverfield 2; the cast and crew have moved on to bigger and better things. But like with that sequel, this one also needs to be on TV. Max Landis spoke out a few months ago about the status of it, saying that it's practically dead and the studio didn't like his ideas. Shame.

Recently it was revealed that Fox had paid a hefty sum for the rights to air Gotham, a prequel Batman show focusing on the beginning of Commissioner James Gordon's career. The article also stated that Fox paid so much because they're desperate to get a superhero show on the end. Presumably, this means that their Marvel contract denies them the right to put an X-Men show on the air, which is a good thing. But what about that other, hot superhero property which was a pretty big success? The completely original one which cost less to make than a few episodes of The Walking Dead does?

Oh yeah, Chronicle. Even though something like Heroes failed, that was because it sucked. Landis isn't against doing TV work, as this time last year it was revealed that he was prepping a superhero cop show called Vigilant, about a twenty-year old woman who decides to adopt a vigilante persona to flush out corruption in the justice system. So pretty much a female Batman.

The dead sequel would have focused on an insane woman who would "martyr herself into becoming the world's first super-villain," which sounds awesome and Breaking Bad-esque. The movie left so many question unanswered. What happened to Matt? Did he go off and become a superhero? What was the crystal ball in the cave that gave them powers? Was it aliens? Was it from the government? Were they the only people with powers? Did the government confiscate Andrew's body and experiment on it? The answers to all these and more could be explored in great depth and detail on TV, with Matt as the protagonist.

The only problem is, a similar TV show just popped up on the air: The Tomorrow People, three episodes in to it's life on the CW. It's actually not that bad, but it's also about young people with powers (telekinesis amongst them) and the government hunting them down. Does this stop Chronicles (that's the name I've given it) from being made? Since this would have existing brand recognition and names like Landis and Trank - possibly - behind it, I'd say no.

Chronicles could easily last for a couple of seasons and I'm sure that myself and many others would gladly tune in to watch the story unfold. Sure it would be on Fox and network television usually sucks but Lost was on ABC and is one of the greatest dramas of all time, so who knows.

Well, there you have it. Six movie and comic franchises that should and could end up on television at some point. Do you agree with my list, or disagree? Which franchises do you think should end up on TV and what's your favourite TV show at the moment? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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