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Ranking the Chances for Each of the 5 TV Shows D.C. Has In Active Development, Including iZombie and Hourman

Posted on the 08 November 2013 by Weminoredinfilm.com @WeMinoredInFilm

So, sucks to be D.C. right now, huh?  Marvel just dropped the bombshell that Netflix has committed to a minimum of four thirteen-episodes TV shows, each one centered around a specific character-Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, Luke Cage.  This multi-year event will conclude with the four characters uniting in an Avengers-style mini-series event called The Defenders, which, like The Avengers, is also the name of a long-running superhero team in the comics.  So, that’s 5 different TV shows Netflix has apparently committed to airing, er, streaming.

Mind. Blown.

You know what, though?  Maybe D.C. saw this coming because somewhat lost in the shuffle in this post-Marvel/Netflix excitement is the fact that D.C. (well, technically Warner Bros. Television) actually has 5 different shows of their own currently in active development, spread across The CW, Fox, and NBC.  Heck, two of them were just announced this week – Hourman and iZombie.  Plus, by going through the more traditional TV development process with established networks some of these shows, if picked up, could end up arriving before the Daredevil series drops on Netflix in 2015.  However, also because of having gone through the traditional channels not a single one of D.C.’s in-development properties is guaranteed to ever make it to air whereas Marvel and Netflix sure make it seem like their shows are 100% definitely happening.  After all, D.C. managed to get 10 seasons out of Smallville and is riding an artistic wave on the freakishly addictive Arrow, but their Smallville spin-off centered around Aquaman never made it past the pilot stage and their Wonder Woman-in-high-school show Amazon hasn’t gone far enough to even get a pilot.  Last we heard, Amazon was currently on-hold as their re-though what to do with Wonder Woman, meaning it is no longer in active development.

So, here are the 5 shows D.C. currently has in active development.  They are arranged from oldest to newest (in terms of when they were announced), and I provide an assessment as to how likely they are to ever end up on TV:


Barry Allen returns to the DC Universe, fleein...

Barry Allen returns to the DC Universe, fleeing the Black Racer. Art from Final Crisis #2 by J.G. Jones. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Network: The CW

Background: A potential spin-off of Arrow centered around the Barry Allen version of The Flashto be played by Glee’s Grant Gustin.  Allen will show up in episodes 8 and 9, currently scheduled to air 12/4 and 12/11 respectively.  He will re-appear in the second half of the season in episode 20, which be set in “in his own world” (most likely Central City) and function as a backdoor pilot for a Flash TV show.  If The CW picks likes the backdoor pilot and orders a full spin-off series, Arrow co-creators Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg and D.C. Chief Creative Officer and sometimes Arrow writer Geoff Johns will head the new show.

Chances?: Very strong; Arrow has emerged as an anchor show for The CW where being watched by just less than 2 million people every week is pretty good.  Plus, the network just recently jumped into the spin-off game by committing to The Originals, a Vampire Diaries spin-off, and so far The Originals is pulling in decent ratings.


Gotham City Police Department

Gotham City Police Department (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Network: Fox

Background: Set up as a police crime procedural that just happens to be set in a pre-Batman Gotham City and revolves around a not-yet-Commissioner James Gordon.  In this telling of the story, Gordon would still just be a detective, much as he was in Frank Miller’s iconic graphic novel Batman: Year One (which partially inspired Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins).  It’s likely that as in both of those sources Gotham would see Gordon battling corruption from within the police force.  Some of Batman’s villains are on the table to possibly show-up, but Batman is off-limits.  The concept is somewhat adapted from the short-lived comic book series Gotham Central, which was almost adapted into a TV show as far back as a decade ago.  Bruno Heller (The Menalist/Rome) is attached as creator/executive producer.

Chances?: Strong; Fox won a bidding war over the show with the other networks by giving it a series commitment, which basically means they’ll treat the as-yet-unwritten script like they would a pilot – if they like it, this thing goes straight to series, no fuss.


John Constantine

John Constantine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Network: NBC

Background: John Constantine began as a chain-smoking, trenchcoat-wearing British street magician/conman who became a paranormal investigator constantly tasked with looking into the latest supernatural happenings on the seedy streets of London in Hellblazer. He has most notably beaten cancer, journeyed to hell, and even made appearances in stories with Sandman and Batman.  He is a notoriously cynical, irreverent anti-hero, an individual around whom loved ones drop like flies and return to haunt him as literal ghosts.  The TV adaptation will present a different take on the material than the much-maligned 2005 Keanu Reeves film.  It comes from uber-screenwriter/producer David S. Goyer (The Dark Knight trilogy, Man of Steel, Da Vinci’s Demons) and writer/producer Daniel Cerone (The Mentalist, Dexter), and they landed a script commitment from NBC.

Chances?: Low; A show about a paranormal investigator would fit perfectly on NBC’s Friday night line-up with Grimm, a better fit than the limited series Dracula.  Plus, David S. Goyer is a definite big name to have attached.  However, NBC’s level of commitment here – a mere script order – is low.  They’d have been better off getting in bed with a cable network where they could do a more faithful adaptation of the material.



Hourman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Network: The CW

Background: I’d actually never even heard of Hourman before this week.  So, here’s how The Hollywood Reporter described him:

“Hourman centers on a brilliant-yet-troubled pharmaceutical analyst who discovers that the visions that have plagued him since childhood are actually glimpses of tragic events occurring one hour in the future. Determined to win back his ex-wife and son, he heroically prevents these tragedies from unfolding, finding both purpose and redemption along the way.”

That immediately draws to mind comparisons to shows like Journeyman, Flash Forward, Awake, and Angel, particularly the latter where a prime story-generator was characters (Doyle then Cordelia) experiencing prophetic visions of bad things about to happen and sending the heroes to prevent the vision from becoming reality.  ”Michael Caleo (Ironside, The Sopranos) will pen the script and executive produce the drama alongside Dan Lin and Lin Pictures’ head of television, Jennifer Gwartz.”

Chances?: Low; it’s unclear what type of commitment The CW has even made to the project other than commissioning Caleo to go write a pilot script.  There’s not really enough information yet to know what to think about this project’s long-term chances, other than observing that recent shows to feature time-travel as a central component have not done well ratings-wise.



Network: The CW

Background: Similar to Hourman, I can make no claims to having heard of this one before this week.  So, here’s how Deadline.com described it:

iZombie is a supernatural crime procedural that follows a medical student-turned-zombie, who takes a job in the coroner’s office to gain access the sweet, delicious brains needed to keep her humanity. Each brain also allows her to experience the corpse’s memories, teaming with her medical examiner boss and a detective to solve homicide cases, and ultimately quiet the disturbing voices in her mind.”

If nothing else, this news makes me want to go read this comic now, which is on D.C.’s Vertigo imprint.  The component of the brain eating being a pathway to gaining that person’s memories is reminiscent of Warm Bodies.  It’s tough to imagine a show featuring a zombie as a central character who somehow passes for not-zombie, but I never would have envisioned the non-traditional versions of vampires presented in Being Human (have light sensitivity to sunlight, but don’t burst into flames) and Vampire Diaries (wear magic rings to move around in sunlight with no harm) prior to those shows either.  Rob Thomas and his Veronica Mars movie co-writer Diane Rugiero are attached as show co-creators/producers and will write the pilot.

Chances?: Moderate; Just like Hourman, we actually know very little here, and Rob Thomas may be a name but it is a name attached to critically-adored shows (Veronica Mars, Party Down) that not enough people watched.  However, it’s a show about zombies at a time when The Walking Dead inexplicably continues breaking its own series ratings records.  Plus, the French drama The Returned has received critical praise for its fresh approach to the zombie story, and it is now getting remade at A&E.  It’s the right topic at the right time for iZombie meaning The CW will likely be very eager to make this thing work.

What say you?  Which one intrigues you the most?  Bores you the most?  Or has Marvel successfully sucked up all of your attention with their Netflix announcement yesterday?

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