2014 was a very successful year for DC Entertainment. Warner Bros. finally unveiled its lineup for a multi-film DC Cinematic Universe that will occupy the next few years, promising the long-awaited big screen debuts of many iconic characters. Several DC television shows premiered this year, with more in development. A new DC Animated Universe was created with the release of direct-to-video movies Justice League: War and Son of Batman. And 2014 saw the release of one highly anticipated video game and the announcement of another. In this part of our reflection, we look at the various DC Entertainment television news of 2014.
The success of The CW’s Arrow has paved the way for more comic book properties, especially DC, to be adapted to television. 2014 saw the premiere of three new DC Entertainment shows – The CW’s The Flash, Fox’s Gotham and NBC’s Constantine. The three television shows join Arrow, which entered its third season this year. While Arrow‘s third year has started off a little slower than usual, it has unsurprisingly consisted of impressive stuntwork and shocking plot twists. This year has also seen the introduction of DC characters such as Ted Grant, Ray Palmer and Ra’s al Ghul, while Laurel Lance will finally become the Black Canary.
The Flash is a spin-off of Arrow, introducing metahumans and super powers into a previously grounded world. New hero Barry Allen takes on many iconic supervillains, including Captain Cold Weather Wizard, while also trying to bring down the Reverse-Flash, the man who killed his mother. Gotham focuses on the adventures of a younger James Gordon, and it has introduced younger versions of Bruce Wayne and many iconic Batman villains. Ddespite mixed reception, it is a hit in terms of ratings and has spawned a fan-favorite character in Robin Lord Taylor’s Oswald Cobblepot. The fact that it has brought popular characters like Harvey Bullock and Renee Montoya to live action also works in its favor. Constantine has become a favorite among fans, finally bringing John Constantine to life to their liking. While The Flash and Gotham have been given full season orders, Constantine will only have a thirteen episode season, but a second season renewal is still possible. Hopefully, its new timeslot for the remainder of the season will give it a boost in ratings.
While Arrow has been a solid hit in terms of ratings, The Flash has been on another level. The spin-off’s premiere is the most-watched episode in The CW’s history, and the recent crossover event gave Arrow its highest ratings since its premiere back in 2012. Clearly, this take on the DC Universe has been a hit; so much so, the network is considering a third DC show to add to its slate. No word on which character that could be yet, but fans have suggested everyone from Atom to Green Lantern to the Suicide Squad. However, The CW is bringing Vertigo title iZombie to the small screen. This adaptation is expected to premiere in early 2015. The series focuses on Liv, a human/zombie hybrid who solves homicidal mysteries thanks to her appetite for brains. The CW was also previously developing a series based on Hourman, but we have not received an update on it in nearly a year. So, it’s easy to assume that it has been shelved – for now, at least.
Meanwhile, other networks are busy bringing other DC characters to life. CBS is developing a Supergirl series, which will be written and executive produced by Greg Berlanti (The Flash, Arrow). Due to his connections to those shows and the fact that CBS owns one half of The CW, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Berlanti suggested Supergirl could possibly wind up in the same DC Universe created by Arrow. Several actresses, including The Originals‘ Claire Holt, have been testing for the role of Kara Zor-El. Casting is also underway for the roles of Alexandra Danvers (Kara’s adopted sister), James “Jimmy” Olsen, Cat Grant, Hank Henshaw (aka Cyborg Superman) and Winslow “Wynn” Shott” (aka Toyman). Expect some sort of casting announcement to be made soon. Supergirl focuses on Kara, who escaped the destruction of Krypton years ago and is now publicly embracing her powers as a hero, not unlike her cousin Superman.
Speaking of Krypton, Superman’s home planet will be the focus of another series. SyFy is developing Krypton, which follows Kal-El’s grandfather in a prequel akin to Fox’s Gotham. Man of Steel scribe David S. Goyer is executive producing and conceive the story with screenwriter Ian Goldberg. Little else is known about this series right now, but it will be interesting to see how Goyer and company approach it, especially given his stellar work on the world of Krypton in Man of Steel.
Additionally, TNT is working on Titans, which assembles one of comics’ most iconic superhero teams in live action for the first time. The pilot is written and executive produced by Akiva Goldsman and Marc Haimes. The potential series stars Dick Grayson, who has recently left the mantle of Robin under Batman and has now become Nightwing. Starfire and Raven are also confirmed to be in Titans, but whether or not we see iconic Teen Titans members such as Cyborg and Kid Flash remains to be seen. Geoff Johns recently confirmed that the pilot will shoot in 2015, indicating that development is going well.
Many Vertigo and Wildstorm titles have also been optioned for television. The long-awaited Preacher series was recently picked up by AMC, with Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg developing it. If ordered to series, it will likely premiere in 2016. Additionally, SyFy is developing DMZ and Ronin, but it has been some time since we’ve received updates on either potential show.
Meanwhile, with a Sandman movie in development at Warner Bros., supporting character Lucifer may get his own television series, as Fox has ordered a pilot starring the Vertigo character. Californication‘s Tom Kapinos is on board as a writer and executive producer. The network is also producing a new pilot for Global Frequency, which was previously adapted for television back in 2005, but the pilot was not ordered to series. Jerry Bruckheimer is producing this new adaptation. Finally, Vertigo’s Scalped is in development at WGN America, but again, there has been no recent update on it.
The final television project DC Entertainment announced in 2014 is Static Shock, which brings fan-favorite character Virgil Hawkins to live action. The digital short-form series is one of the many projects being developed by WB’s new digital content unit, Blue Ribbon Content. Django Unchained producer Reginald Hudlin is leading the creative team for Static Shock.
And that’s a wrap. Which current DC television show are you enjoying the most? Which upcoming series are you anticipating most? Stay tuned for the third and final installment of our “2014 in Review” series, which will focus on DC Entertainment’s animation and video game projects of 2014.