We’ve now hit our full stride, ladies and gents, in the fall television lineup from DC Comics’ offerings on Fox and The CW. If Monday Night Football is just not your thing, you’re in luck: Gotham and Supergirl to the rescue. The rest of the week, you’ve got a full spectrum of options in The Flash, Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow.
The spectrum is not in title characters alone, but in the impressive way DC has been bringing even the most obscure characters into the spotlight. There is a healthy depth to the names being written into (and out of) the plot lines of these tales. If you’re like me, and not as well-versed in the pages of more than your childhood obsession (Batman, here), viewing an episode is a tandem operation of viewing and Googling character names just to keep up.
Regardless of your background, the cornucopia of characters bodes well for the places these stories can go.
Supergirl has planted Lar Gand in the middle of Kara’s world. Gotham has sexed up Ivy (by age and attire) and literally seems to inch Penguin and Nigma closer each week to making out, while continuing to round up promising elements like the Court of Owls and a Bruce clone. The Flash has popped the cork on Flashpoint, opening up the writers to almost any twist or turn their hearts and imaginations could desire. Arrow is seeing a totally new crop of newbie heroes in Ollie’s new team: Wild Dog, Artemis and Curtis (Mister Terrific, anyone?). Legends of Tomorrow is, perhaps, offering up the most immediately satisfying and entertaining roster expansion with the Justice Society of America popping by. All of this is to say nothing of the other, less-spotlighted series adding to the mix, such as Preacher (on AMC), Lucifer and iZombie — all representing the DC Vertigo imprint as the B-team lineup to these major shows.
There has never been a better time to be a DC Comics fan, watching TV, than right now.
All of this is much deeper than just a TV wet dream for DC fans and deep-lore comic nerds. It is a testament to how DC continues to prove their mettle through televised content in contrast to Marvel’s film success. As much as Marvel has their shit together on films, DC does on the small screen. Sometimes it seems like the DC scene could, would and should be a unified continuity like that which Marvel has rendered, but that might subject DC’s TV empire to some of the dubious decisions being made in the film camp. Ultimately, it is probably healthier for these shows to have the opportunity to allow for meandering experimentation throughout the rich breadth of the lore.
If you could go back in time and tell 1989 me, in the infancy of my discovery of Batman by way of the curiosity sparked through the Tim Burton film, that in my adulthood I would see weeknights dominated by the extended universe of characters surrounding The Detective and his peers, or for that matter that a mainstream American network would hang its programming hat almost entirely on the fare of the comic book shop, I’d have called you a liar.
DC is making that wild notion really work on TV, and I can’t wait to see where it takes us.