Can Gotham and Constantine TV Shows Succeed Where Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD Failed?

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Get ready, comic book fans -- two new Time Warner (NYSE: TWX  ) /DC Comics properties, Gotham and Constantine, will soon follow CW's Arrow and Disney (NYSE: DIS  ) /ABC's Marvel's Agents of SHIELD to the small screen.

Gotham and Constantine, which were initially announced last September, have reportedly been greenlit for pilot episodes by Fox (NASDAQ: FOX  ) and Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA  ) /NBC, respectively.

While the allure of comic book franchises on TV is undeniable, most of the shows that came before -- such as Lois and Clark, Birds of Prey, Smallville, and Witchblade -- have failed to match the big-budget impact of their big-screen counterparts. Arguably, the only well-made comic book show has been AMC's (NASDAQ: AMCX  ) The Walking Dead -- which was not only faithful to the comics, but actually improved upon the original storylines.

As I noted in a previous article, one of the biggest disappointments of the fall season was Agents of SHIELD. Despite being funded by Disney, and having an enormous portfolio of Marvel characters to choose from, the show fell flat with formulaic procedural plots.

Agents of SHIELD. Source: (

Will Gotham and Constantine suffer the same fate? Let's review what we know about both new shows, and what they need to accomplish to succeed.

Gotham City before Batman

Fox's Gotham will focus on the early career of Commissioner Gordon, prior to Bruce Wayne's transformation into Batman. The show will reportedly also feature a 10-year-old Bruce Wayne, and "all of the classic Batman villains," according to Fox chairman Kevin Reilly.

A younger Commissioner Gordon in Batman Begins. (Source:

Unfortunately, there's a glaring problem with that idea -- most of the "classic" Batman villains, such as the Joker, Catwoman, the Riddler, and the Penguin -- shouldn't exist before Bruce becomes Batman.

In fact, that's a recurring theme in the Batman comics -- that Batman could actually be responsible for the creation of the villains in his rogues gallery, since they all play theatrical roles to counter his dark vigilante fantasy. Introducing "classic" Batman villains would be anachronistic and would make little sense to any viewer remotely familiar with the comics.

For comic fans, the canon for young Jim Gordon and Bruce Wayne was established long ago in Frank Miller's Year One (1987), a classic, gritty tale full of corrupt cops and crime lords rather than super villains -- a tale so well known that it was partially adapted into Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins.

Television hasn't been kind to Batman -- audiences still remember him from the campy 1960s show, which only lasted two seasons. The only other notable effort was the single season of Birds of Prey -- a Batman show which, like Gotham, featured Gotham City without Batman.

Constantine, take two

Meanwhile, NBC believes that supernatural chain-smoking detective John Constantine, best known for the mediocre Keanu Reeves film Constantine in 2005, deserves a second chance on the small screen.

The original film from Warner Bros. was met with lackluster reviews, with a 46% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but it was an undeniable hit at the box office, grossing $231 million worldwide on a production budget of $100 million.

The 2005 film Constantine. (Source:

Constantine is less well-known than Batman -- a fact that could either help or hamper the television series.

For the unacquainted, John Constantine was originally introduced in DC's Hellblazer, a contemporary horror comic series that was published under DC's Vertigo imprint for mature readers. The character, who has the magical powers of a sorcerer, shifts between several roles, such as a streetwise magician, a con man, and an occult detective.

Fans of the comic will likely be interested in the TV reboot, but other viewers, who might only know Constantine from the 2005 film or not at all, might not -- to them, the show might simply resemble a copy of NBC's own Grimm or CW's Supernatural.

David S. Goyer, who wrote the Blade trilogy and Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, is reportedly writing the pilot. However, before comic book fans get too excited, it should be noted that Goyer also wrote the critically panned Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance.

What do these two shows mean for Fox and NBC?

From a business perspective, it's easy to see why Fox and NBC are eager to hop on the comic book bandwagon -- they don't want to let ABC and CW (a joint venture between CBS (NYSE: CBS  ) and Time Warner) corner the market.

If Gotham is a hit, it could help boost revenue at Fox's broadcast television segment, which reported a 7.8% year-over-year gain in revenue to $1.05 billion last quarter. Although that growth was decent, it was outpaced by Fox's stronger cable networks segment, which grew 12.3% to $2.81 billion.

Meanwhile, Constantine could help NBC capitalize on the success of Grimm, which has been renewed for a third season. Grimm attracted an average of 6.35 million and 6.95 million viewers for its first and second seasons, respectively, suggesting that the audience for supernatural procedural shows is steadily growing.

Unlike Fox, NBC has been shrinking. Last quarter, revenue at Comcast's broadcast television segment dropped 41% year-over-year to $1.64 billion. While a big part of that drop can be attributed to unfavorable comparisons to the Olympics in the prior-year quarter, it also means that NBC really needs some hit shows to fill the void.

Avoiding the mistakes of the past

I'll be honest -- I have doubts that Gotham and Constantine can succeed.

Gotham, in my opinion, will face a steeper challenge, since it could suffer from unfavorable comparisons to Smallville as well as Christopher Nolan's recent films. Asking viewers to believe that classic Batman villains can exist in a world where Bruce Wayne is only 10 years old is asking a lot from viewers.

Constantine, on the other hand, could work, since both Grimm and Supernatural have audiences who don't really mind cheesy special effects as long as the writers cook up a fun plot. Its success, however, will come down to David S. Goyer's writing and the casting of John Constantine. On a side note, my personal pick for the role of John Constantine would be Joel Kinnaman (The Killing, RoboCop), who seems to be born for the role.

Last but not least, both shows need to avoid the path that Agents of SHIELD took -- that is, generating hype as a comic book franchise but becoming a different show only loosely related to the comic book universe.

Final thoughts

In conclusion, I'm excited to see more comic book franchises making it to the small screen. However, I won't have high hopes -- Arrow and SHIELD have already taught us to temper our expectations.

What do you think, dear readers? Can Gotham and Constantine succeed where Agents of SHIELD failed? Let me know in the comments section below!

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Read/Post Comments (30) | Recommend This Article (5)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On January 16, 2014, at 11:45 AM, HerbieJPilato wrote:

    Dude - the classic "Batman" TV show that you arrogantly label as "campy" is one of THEE most beloved television programs of all time (in the Top Five, actually, with Star Trek, Lucy, Twilight Zone and Gilligan's Island).

    And it ran for THREE seasons, not two.

    So, get your facts straight.

    Beyond that, nobody gives a flying fig about long, boring, dark, edgy bull-crappy procedural shows with singular names.

    If TV (and film) producers would just stick to the original material (including the original costumes), and stop with all this bulls__t "dark" and "edgy" stuff, somebody would have a hit show!!!!

  • Report this Comment On January 16, 2014, at 12:24 PM, excelsior07 wrote:

    Gotham sounds stupid - no desire to see Constantine and seriously the writer does not know that the 60s Batman is beloved by fans and as someone else pointed out it lasted three seasons not two and would have had a fourth, NBC was interested, but ABC had destroyed the sets.

    What could work, a GREEN HORNET series

  • Report this Comment On January 16, 2014, at 12:31 PM, TMFSunLion wrote:

    My apologies, yes, the show ran 3 seasons. As a modern viewer, though, I'm not a fan if the series.

  • Report this Comment On January 16, 2014, at 12:35 PM, rozell99 wrote:

    Pilato is right. If their primary focus was entertainment, they would have enough winning content to fill hundreds of shows.

    Smallville was not faithful to the comics, but it was faithful to the characters and managed to last ten seasons on a crappy network.

    Shield is not even really in the comic book mode and routinely boring. The bad premise Gotham and Constantine are doomed before they even air. Who pays these guys for these terrible ideas?

  • Report this Comment On January 16, 2014, at 12:36 PM, jrcdupree wrote:

    Yes, they can, just ask Arrow.

  • Report this Comment On January 16, 2014, at 1:04 PM, Sjack1954 wrote:

    Agents Of Shield-nope...everytime I watch it...i feel like something is going to happen...wait for it..wait for it...AND NOTHING HAPPENS. Nice try but...NOPE don't like it! ARROW-I can tolerate it...but I need him to have a MASK...stop trying to make it seem that NOBODY standing that close cannot see that it's the RICH BOY(Like Superman/Clark Kent back in the day). GREEN Hornet-Yes...Campy but look at the year it was on. I was upset when they made the movie and made it more of a comedy...that was awful! GRIMM-love it not a lot of special effects and just enough to keep the story line interesting.

  • Report this Comment On January 16, 2014, at 1:08 PM, Jdzspace wrote:

    I'm sorry, but I have to say this. did you REALLY put Smallville in the same category as a bunch of shows that have failed thoroughly?

    can you list any of those shows that legitimatley had a "series finale" episode? and I don't mean a rush job because they knew they were getting cancelled?

    How about any of those shows that lasted a decade?

    how about any of those shows that has the record as the longest running comic book TV show of all time?

    how about any of them that had a farewell season?

    that is BEYOND insulting to those of us who watched that show to insinuate that it was a failure, or failed to gain whatever.

    Go ahead, let's make a list of all the comic book TV shows to last over 200 episodes........then we can talk about comic book TV shows that are considered "failures".

    you REALLY REALLY REALLY need to do your research before you blast (or disrespect or disregard) a show that Arrow, Agent's of Shield and EVER comic book TV show would all KILL to duplicate, and SHOULD be the standard to which all others are held.

    jesus man, over 200 episodes, highest rated show on that network, 10 years worth of episodes.

    yeah......what a failure.


  • Report this Comment On January 16, 2014, at 1:35 PM, chrisavd wrote:

    I agree with JDZ on Smallville comments...I would add if any of the shows could have the writing and chemistry of Supernatural they would be a success enjoying a cult like following.....

  • Report this Comment On January 16, 2014, at 2:11 PM, sftv wrote:

    Im reminded of the old politicians shouting out 'read my lips' when it comes to the studios.. "Read My Lips" Studios!! Hey 1%rs living in the bubble!! Comic Books are about Comic Book Heros. Agents failed because there are no / NO comic book heros in it!!! Gotham will fail for the same reason!!! Constantine may work since they are actually using a character/hero from the comic book. Although with so many comic book hero/anti-hero I think there were much better choices. If it were me, I'd take a bad guy from any of the comic series and do the stories/shows around them... As we have seen in series like Breaking Bad, 'Evil can be a great character and make a great Story" Going off on a tangent I was always hoping that the Startrek Universe last TV series would have been about the Klingon Empire. A series about one of their captains and one of their Starships... Right!

  • Report this Comment On January 16, 2014, at 4:54 PM, odacommand wrote:

    Marvel's SHIELD failed for a couple of reasons. Firstly, as noted in the article, it fails to capture the heart of the Marvel universe and instead decides to skirt the edges. Secondly, it was thematically flawed, deciding to cater towards kids and adolescents more than adults. The slightly campy, quippy, and shallow plotting might fair well when fueled by large budgets, A-list actors, and big screen debuts - but when tiered down for the small screen it just becomes corny.

    Where Gotham and Constantine are different? Firstly, both of these titles have great source material. Gotham Central was a successful comic that was effectively Batman-less. Likewise Hellblazer, has been running in some shape for nearly 30 years.

    I believe Gotham has potential to be successful if the aim is to tell a gripping police procedural in the Gotham Universe. It needs to rely on good stories with a Gotham-esque twist, instead of using the Batman mythos as a crutch for poor storytelling.

    Constantine needs to be dark. While the character is witty enough, producers don't need to get the truth twisted. Constantine is NOT a comedy showcase. Hellblazer is a horror book, that deals with some pretty scary and dark subjects. If they can pull out a similar tone to that of Hannibal or American Horror Story I think the series could really take off.

  • Report this Comment On January 16, 2014, at 5:06 PM, cynicalbuddha wrote:

    Is this just a blog? Does anyone do any kind of fact checking? There are so many blatant mistakes in the article, most that could have been solved with a simple internet search. Most have been touched on already, but heres another...Constantine's first appearance was in Sage of Swampthing #37 in 1985 a full three years before Hellblazer.

    As far as I'm concerned the Gotham show will probably suck without Batman. Sure a gritty cop drama set in Gotham could work, but I doubt it. Constantine on the other had could be great. I think the movie was one of Keanu's best. The plot was great, smart, and they didn't muck it up with a crappy origin story at the beginning. If they stick to plot lines and characters from Hellblazer I think they've got a good shot.

  • Report this Comment On January 16, 2014, at 5:26 PM, MistaMann wrote:

    Cute article, but Smallville, the 60's Batman series, and Agents of SHIELD are all wildly successful:

    - AoS draws literally 3 times the viewers that Arrow draws and is the best-performing show NBC has had in the key demo in a decade. Nobody cares if fanboys hate it, because they're a tiny minority of viewers.

    - Smallville was on for ten solid years, and gave the burgeoning CW. Nobody cares if some Bag of D working for the Motley Fool never cared.

    - The Batman series is culturally relevant, some 50 years later. Somebody whining about it right now just sounds like they're about 17 years old and wants "kewl" out of everything.

    Worthless article.

  • Report this Comment On January 16, 2014, at 6:31 PM, Comicafficinado wrote:

    Arrow is a superior comic book show and is clearly superior to pretty much any other comic based tv show.

  • Report this Comment On January 16, 2014, at 9:08 PM, HanFei wrote:

    Motley Fool really seems to have issues with comic book shows.

    Smallville had many faults, but as people have mentioned, it was a success. And Lois & Clark made a big splash when it came out and managed four seasons (and endless reruns in the UK at least).

    I'll agree, Agents of SHIELD has been a bit of a disappointment but that is mostly because of high expectations (Marvel AND Whedon).

    Oh, and as a point of accuracy, John Constantine was originally introduced in DC's Swamp Thing.

  • Report this Comment On January 16, 2014, at 9:18 PM, ShepardRahl wrote:

    First you needed to demonstrate how Agents of Shield has failed. Which you failed to do. Simply saying "the show fell flat with formulaic procedural plots" means nothing. If you paid any attention to the show at all you would know that there are several overarching plots. If you had bothered at all to do your research you would know that the show is meant to be told from the human perspective. Which is why there are no superheroes on it. No doubt there will be guest appearances in the future. Just because you personally don't like a show doesn't mean it's a failure. It has three times the ratings of Arrow and it's giving NCIS a run for it's money. But never mind all that. It's a failure because you say so right?

    I also got a kick out of this: "Arguably, the only well-made comic book show has been AMC's The Walking Dead -- which was not only faithful to the comics, but actually improved upon the original storylines."

    Really!? It was faithful to the comics for most of the first season, but season 2 and one they increasingly went into business for themselves. If they stayed faithful to the comics:

    -There would be no Daryl. (I like Daryl but he's not in the comics)

    -Sophia would still be alive

    -Carol would be dead from feeding herself to a walker and not just banished

    -Dale would still be alive

    -Andrea would still be alive

    -Shane would have died much earlier

    -The governor never lost control of Woodbury and went out on his own.

    -Rick wouldn't have his right hand

    -There would have been no "plague" in the prison

    -Lori would have died during the assault on the prison with Judy in her arms

    -The tank wouldn't have had any ammo

    I know I'm nitpicking and I could keep going but the list is long enough. Andrea dying is particularly confusing since she is still alive in the comic and a big part of everything. I like the show but I wouldn't say the stories have been improved on since parts of the show are boring. I'm hoping the show gets better. I'm particularly interested to see how they portray Negan.

  • Report this Comment On January 16, 2014, at 9:51 PM, PsiKick wrote:

    Constantine was and is a great movie and will be immortal as a cult hit. Reviewers who panned it are idiots.

  • Report this Comment On January 16, 2014, at 10:55 PM, muffinlad wrote:

    AoS is an artistic disappointment, while being solid in the ratings, regardless of poor plots, bad scripts and a lackluster cast.

    It may take some time for it to either improve, but the idea that it will go as long as Smallville, or Supernatural is highly suspect.

  • Report this Comment On January 16, 2014, at 11:00 PM, muffinlad wrote:

    Also, recommendation is- absolutely do not go after the Batman TV show. There is no victory for you there (ha)'s fans are legion, and loud. Further, if you ever met Adam West personally, he is such a great guy, even if you didn't like it, you would give it a pass.

    3 seasons- and SOME of those seasons had two episodes a WEEK, with a ton of guest stars....hard to top how hard they worked, and then West did Car shows and conventions for 40 years. He has pressed a lot of flesh, kissed a lot of babies and met a huge number of folks. Tread lightly there, IMHO.

  • Report this Comment On January 16, 2014, at 11:08 PM, Richard233 wrote:

    What exactly is your definition of failure?

    I've no doubt that Lois and Clark was profitable

    and Smalleville even more so.

    If you want to talk failure, start mentioning shows

    that only lasted a season, or less.

    Consider "No Ordinary Family" and "The Cape".

    Both recent series that failed to capture audiences despite decent promotion and potential. I liked them both, but other people did not.

    And really, that's what it takes. Pleasing a mass audience sufficiently to make a profit. TV is not about making a ton of money, or high art, its about making more money than you would with something in its place.

    Many shows make their creators far more money from the products that spring up afterwards.

    Consider, Star Trek in the 60's was considered quite a money pit. They canceled it once only to revive it based on mass demand from the audience. Even then, it only managed 3 seasons and 79 episodes. What sprang forth, however, were movies and additional series, and products that have reaped many, many billions.

    The original Batman TV shows still make a nice amount of money from products today. They just released a set of DVD's and have had action figurines and a new comic books series released on the campy concept from the 60's.

    I'm not ready to bury Arrow or Agents of Shield just yet. As for the use of mainline heroes you

    have to consider the related problems of licensing those characters for the movies and the fact they want to avoid muddling the water.

    Additionally, I'm guessing getting the top stars to do guest spots might not be all that cheap, nor would the special effects necessarily be either.

    Best bet? Look for a crossover where you see

    some of the characters, from a distance, but no

    real interaction. CGI characters do not have agents nor demand residuals. :-)

  • Report this Comment On January 17, 2014, at 1:19 AM, DonSteed wrote:

    Before Joker was one of Batman's most popular villains, he was already a criminal. They'll probably use a young actor to portray the Joker (who's real name was Jack in one of his origin stories). It's not like Batman villains are going to go by their iconic names on the TV show, seeing how this is before they became who we know them as in the Batman comic books.

    I can't wait for the show. If this is as close as we'll get to Batman : Year One, then sign me up. I'll take any Batman TV show with real actors and a more serious tone to it. Even if it is with a younger Bruce Wayne. They could easily age him in the future.

  • Report this Comment On January 17, 2014, at 4:56 AM, blackmask40 wrote:

    I own the Blu-ray of Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. As a comic fan, I found that movie to be far more true to the spirit of the character than the previous Ghost Rider movie. I like Nicholas Cage as an actor but not as The Ghost Rider. That said, Spirit of Vengeance was a better movie. I actually cared about the other characters that were introduced in it.

    Agents of SHIELD is not perfect. I will agree with that. It could use a more direct tie in with the cinematic universe that is it supposed to occupy. However, as another has already stated, licensing characters for movies and television is a tricky business. Unless you can get the same actor to portray that character it becomes a separate universe and not a shared one. Besides, it's called AGENTS of Shield. It should be about the Agents who do the hard work.

    Arrow draws less viewers because it is on a less watched network. Give it a few years. I think it could be the CW's biggest draw. Arrow does embrace it's comic book heritage. I can take issue with some of the representations of the characters so far (Black Canary actually is superhuman not a girl who uses some sonic device) but it's a television show for goodness sake. In my honest opinion, as long as the source material is treated seriously, comic book properties are better translated as a weekly serial. It's far more flexible. A drawn out story arc is one of the hallmarks of comics. That is something you can't do when you have to cram as much as possible into a 2- 2 and a half hour movie.

    The only one of these two proposed shows that I would watch is Gotham. I am huge fan of the Batman. Batman: Year One was more of a Jim Gordon story than a Batman story. I think it would be cool to see how the Joker was before he was "The Joker". Even though it has been argued that the Batman's presence is creating his Rogue's Gallery, perhaps it was the presence of those very same personalities that prompted Bruce Wayne to go beyond mere vengeance and adopt the cape and cowl. Those are my two cents.

  • Report this Comment On January 17, 2014, at 10:13 AM, pocahoncho wrote:

    The Keanu Constantine was actually pretty fun. (Yeah, it got panned - so do a lot of popcorn movies). But I can see it working on a "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" level. but there's not a lot of writers out there with the kind of chops that Joss Whedon brings to TV.

    I think the writer-dud misses the point about why these movies and shows succeed or fail. it's not the costumes or the budgets or the modern effects or "the darkness."

    it's the "heart" - or sadly, the lack thereof.

    a show can be totally dark and have a big heart.

    a show can be gleaming and bright and have a big heart.

    dark or light, silly or complex - it doesn't matter - as long as the heart-part IS NOT served up by fakers.

    look at Dark Knight: Christopher Nolan believes in the material - he pours his heart into it. And it comes right through.

    (that's why AGENTS of SHIELD failed - you can tell INSTANTLY - the writing team was just going through the motions - tasks with maximizing a pre-existing property. Ho hum.)

    now look at the original Batman TV Series. It's absolutely HILARIOUS! you can feel how much the writers and actors LOVED working on it.

    Same with Star Trek and Lucy and bunches more.

    IMO - Gotham will fail. Why? Because everyone working on it - from craft service to the producers will know it's BS. The Joker only exists because of Batman (the writer dude IS right about that). What are they gonna do, show a little kid playing with his mommy's make-up and going all Damien Omen? It's CRAP from the word go.

    Just saying.

  • Report this Comment On January 17, 2014, at 12:15 PM, TMFSunLion wrote:

    I think part of the problem is that there are too many versions of the Batman canon. However, the one I (and a lot of comic book readers) are most familiar with come from Year One and The Killing Joke.

    The Killing Joke, in particular, established the Joker's origin very well, stating that he wouldn't have existed without Batman's interference.

    Meanwhile, Batman's pre-teen and teen years were not filled with dreams of becoming Batman -- that didn't happen until he was much older, similar to the way it played out in Batman Begins.

    What I think will happen is that they will squeeze in too many familiar Batman names into the early story and make a mess (sorry, Smallville fans, but that's what happened in the TV series), similar to BBC's Merlin.

    Gotham is just trying to make something out of nothing.

  • Report this Comment On January 17, 2014, at 1:31 PM, Flintstock wrote:

    The problem with AoS is and always will be that be that the main characters aren't the A-Team. The superheroes in that universe do all of the cool stuff and get the cool missions against the cool bad guys. But, the characters on the show are NOT superheroes so nothing on the show is cool in any way.

  • Report this Comment On January 17, 2014, at 2:42 PM, DavidTannen wrote:

    Ok folks commercial TV shows (especially broadcast shows) rarely rise above mind-candy. Every once in a while there are broadcast commercial TV shows that rise above mind-candy and provide the viewing audience with topics, plots and characters that we can 'sink our teeth into.'

    I don't expect TV shows (or movies) based on comic books to rise much above mind-candy. I am a fan of comic books and comic book based movies and TV shows. I can also acknowledge the general limitations of the medium/material being worked with.

  • Report this Comment On January 17, 2014, at 7:56 PM, suckittrebek wrote:

    Constantine was introduced during Alan Moore's run on Swamp Thing in the 80s, not in Hellblazer. Did you do ANY research at all for this article?

  • Report this Comment On January 17, 2014, at 8:58 PM, sploorp wrote:

    Most, if not all, the Batman villains have a backstory - a life before they became villains, so there is still a lot they can do with the show. A pre Batman commissioner Gordon would have probably worked with Harvey Dent who became Two Face.

    And, if worse comes to worse, there is always the crime bosses.

  • Report this Comment On January 18, 2014, at 2:45 AM, LazyCapitalist wrote:

    "While the allure of comic book franchises on TV is undeniable, most of the shows that came before -- such as Lois and Clark, Birds of Prey, Smallville, and Witchblade -- have failed to match the big-budget impact of their big-screen counterparts."

    At the time many of these shows were matching the impact of their big-screen counterparts.

    In 1993, Lois and Clark was far superior to the previous Superman movie (1987's hilariously awful Quest for Peace). Quest for Peace was so bad that destroyed the whole idea of a Superman movie. And the movie that revived the Superman for the big-screen (Superman Returns) wasn't very good either.

    I didn't like Birds of Prey at all, but when compared to the last Batman film at the time -- Bat Nipples: The Movie (Batman & Robin) -- its single canceled season suddenly doesn't seem as bad.

    And while I know you are only counting live-action shows (and only American live-action shows at that), the best American comic book TV show for my money is Batman: The Animated Series. And unlike many 90s shows, it still holds up extremely well today thanks to its story tone and animation style.

    It is a shame that Time Warner doesn't see the value in animated TV series made for a mature audience anymore. Time Warner's DC Animated Universe (Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series, Justice League, and the rest of the DCAU) was quite exceptional.

    Young Justice was extremely well made also. Too bad it was canceled only after two seasons.

  • Report this Comment On January 18, 2014, at 9:57 AM, PAJohnDoe wrote:

    What I never EVER see mentioned really in any of these Marvel TV series vs. DC TV series articles is that Marvel really doesn't need to succeed. If SHIELD (or even the upcoming Netflix projects) don't last, they still have SEVERAL multi-billion dollar film franchises (and even franchises WITHIN franchises) to fall back on, whereas DC might rely a little more heavily on TV to raise awareness of their non-Superman/non-Batman characters, and even then, A weekly TV audience doesn't translate to a big movie audience if those characters should happen to make the jump to the big screen. It will need to appeal to more than just the built-in audience in a way.

  • Report this Comment On January 18, 2014, at 12:36 PM, abeattie3 wrote:

    Leo, my man, I know I am repeating but there are too many mistakes in your article to take the rest of the stuff you comment on seriously. How can you expect the average comic book fan to give validity to what you are saying when you make mistakes that were pretty easy to check.

    Its been said but to quickly review:

    2 seasons of the original Batman? C'mon man. Constantine 1st appearance in Hellblazer? Man that one just screams "Google me Leo, Google me"

    And the Nitpicky stuff:

    Walking Dead, faithful to the comics? Leo, man, go back and watch the first season. Also in many of the early interviews with Robert Kirkland he says that the show was going to be a loose interpretation of the comic. In one interview he even actually compares TWD to Smallville in the way the show differs from the recognized storylines from the comics.

    Smallville, hmmm. Look let's just say this 10 years, avg 4.34 million views, avg nielsen rank of #139 (out of 250-300). It was never going to be as highly ranked as a broadcast network show like say, CSI etc but for a CW show about an alien teenager living and growing up in Kansas? Not bad.

    Arrow, has settled into mid #100's ranking with about 2.65 million viewers. Again not broadcast network numbers but not bad.

    Ill stop there. But let me say that the article could have been good if it didn't come across like a writer with disdain for this type of material trying to sound like an authority on the subject. It is obvious from the errors you aren't. I mean your last post implying that Year One and The Killing Joke are the accepted Batman canon is insulting to comic book fans. The whole reinvigoration of the Batman story starting in Feb 1986 by Frank Miller was and is truly one of the best storyline arcs in recent comic book memory. But to say that is the only Batman everyone knows now, totally discredits the previous 50+ years of the story.

    Who know what will happen with Gotham or Constantine? But the reason they will fail or succeed will be based on the acting and the writing Not because some guy calls himself The Riddler or The Joker exists in a world where a 10 year old kid hasn't become Batman yet.

    Both shows (Gotham especially) have one big strike against them, the are airing on a major network. Comic book fans alone are not enough to keep a show from being cancelled. Either show will have to do at least a 6-8 share to be safe. That's asking alot. If they were on the CW, maybe but on FOX and NBC they might be doomed before they start.

    I know I for one will check them out. I mean who isn't excited to see the episode where Constantine is shifted to an alternate America by Papa Midnite and finds JFK there as his guide only to go head to head against a fallen angel in an Abraham Lincoln disguise? Awesome.

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Leo Sun

Leo has covered the crossroads of Wall Street and Silicon Valley since 2012. Follow him on Twitter for more updates!

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