Bring Them To TV! Comic Book Characters Who Deserve A Second Chance

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By Ben Wright (@iamzavagno | www.xgeeks.co.uk)

We’ve seen what can happen with second chances, look at Daredevil, look at The Punisher, an original flop doesn’t mean the end of the line. If done right the second time, that is! Now, full disclosure, I enjoy the Ben Affleck Daredevil movie, but you get the point. So many times, a studio will botch a much loved and respected property and we never see it again. But are the studios missing a trick? Should they be brave enough to take another punt at getting it right?

I have put together six shows that I think are calling out for a return to the small screen!

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Constantine

A lot can be said about the Keanu Reeves attempt back in 2005. Not a lot of it good, but it wasn’t without its moments! Then, many years later, we are given another chance to see John Constantine come to life from the pages of Hellblazer. And it is the Matt Ryan TV show that I think deserves a second chance. I had no legal way of watching the show originally, so my first introduction to Ryan’s Constantine was through the Arrowverse. When the show eventually came to SKY, I binged it very quickly. While you can see the show had budgetary restrictions in the final production, it was still a very enjoyable show.

It was cancelled, due to poor ratings, and looks unlikely to be revied under Warner/DC television. This is a crying shame because Matt Ryan excels in the role! So much so that he has been given the chance to voice John Constantine in DC’s animated movies. Be it a continuation from the first season, or a new approach, based on the Arrowverse storylines, Matt Ryan and Constantine deserves to be back on our screens! They can afford to go much darker and pull more from the source material for sure. The show is the closest thing we have seen so far, in terms of doing Hellblazer justice, and as one of my favourite comic book series, I would love for them to cash in on the Daredevil or Titans style, allowing for a possible new Constantine show to be more graphic and hard-hitting.

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Jonah Hex

I paid money to watch this film. I know, I was one of the few who saw it at the cinema, and I still feel like I am owed my money back! Despite having such an amazing character to work with and despite assembling a cast that had the likes of Brolin, Malkovich, Fassbender and Shannon, the film was an absolute stinker! The film was a mess behind-the-scenes, as well as on it, with Brolin later claiming that they reshot “66 pages in 12 days”. You could tell it was re-shot and patched together. The Arrowverse once again came to the rescue of a flopped character! Jonah Hex has since appeared as a guest star in DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and Johnathon Schaech has done a good job in the role.

A Jonah Hex TV show could work, especially in the current climate of more aggressive superhero shows. You could also cash in on shows like Westworld, which have proven that there is an appetite for ‘westerns with a twist’. As for who could play the role? I wouldn’t use Schaech, it would need to be someone with a bit more mainstream appeal. Take your pick from Michael C. Hall, Timothy Olyphant and Jeffrey Dean Morgan! All three could easily do a job, and while I always want to see Olyphant in a cowboy hat, I think Morgan would be the perfect choice for the role. What do you think?

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Elektra

Just like Jonah Hex, Elektra was another movie I paid real money to see! And just like Hex, this was another disaster! This wasn’t a Halle Berry/Catwoman thing, Jennifer Garner was fine, not great, but fine. It wasn’t her fault the film was so bad!

There is nowhere near enough female characters leading their own properties, and by adding an Elektra show, that would be a small step in rectifying this. There is a massive appetite from fans, of every gender, for more diversity and inclusion in our superheroes. And with more characters to call on, Elektra could best Jessica Jones, in both delivering a strong female lead and pull from a much larger pool in terms of characters and villains. Captain Marvel and the upcoming Black Widow MCU films have and will own the big screen, so why not look at doing something on the small screen too? As for who could take the lead? If you could get her, Olivia Munn would be a great choice, though you could also look at the likes of Jaimie Alexander, Katie McGrath and Morena Baccarin.

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The Phantom

This is the one that prompted me to write this article. I was just reminiscing about the Billy Zane 90s cult-classic and I thought “Man, I’d love to see The Phantom back!”.

Growing up in the 90s, we didn’t have many great superheroes on TV or at the cinema. But one I remember fondly was The Phantom. Boy, do I love this movie! Yes, OK, watching it back after doing my film degree and understanding movies much better, it is massively camp and probably not as good as my childhood remembers. But it’s still a fun, silly watch. This would be one that would need to keep a little more of the lighthearted side of it, rather than going realistic or too dark. I wouldn’t set the show in the present, I would go one of two ways. First option? Set it in the original 30s-40s era and keep that Indiana Jones vibe. Secondly, you could pull from Phantom 2040 and have it set in the future! There is a lot of potential here, and I want to see the man in purple riding his white horse and brandishing his pistols one more time!

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Judge Dredd

While the Sylvester Stallone movie might be a critical and commercial flop, it’s alright! As for Karl Urban’s 2012 Dredd? Now THAT is a movie! But, despite critical and fan acclaim, a sequel looks dead in the water. That is why I think to really reignite the Judge Dredd franchise, a TV show would be the perfect platform!

With so many superhero shows on the go right now, there is room for a gritty, hard-hitting sci-fi actioner! The themes of race in the new Watchmen TV series are a great example of building a show around a concept on the zeitgeist of the time right now. Judge Dredd is about the rule of law and authoritarianism. Look around the world right now, there are so many parallels that can be used to create a powerful show. Even if the show was to be more fantastical, than realistic, you have such a unique back catalogue to pull from! Give me a show where we see Dredd going up against the Dark Judges! Now tell me that wouldn’t be special?

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Tank Girl

I remember being exposed to Tank Girl at a very early age. I think my mum had some of the original comics, so naturally, when the film came to VHS I experience that as well. While not a massive fan of the property, I love the punk rock aspects of the artwork and ethos, so I appreciate it for that more than anything. The film wasn’t great, it was the typical 90s style comic book film, in that it had a cheap look and no idea what to do with the story. But I think bringing Tank Girl to a new generation of fans could easily be done!

Think of the events over the past few years, the #MeToo movement especially. The world is crying out for a Tank Girl reboot! This show is in a unique position to tackle some subjects in a more natural and organic way. The comic originally rebelled against Thatcher’s homophobic laws and propaganda. It was used as a tool to make a statement and a new show could add misogyny, gender identity and the general discrimination that women live with every day of their lives. Get Phoebe Waller-Bridge involved and you tell me if you wouldn’t watch that?

What failed/cancelled comic book property would you like to see given a second chance on the small screen? Let us know in the comments!

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