Top 5 Comic Books That Should Be TV Shows

Top 5 Comics That Should Be On TV

Most everyone knows comic books and Hollywood are still hot and heavy with one another on the big screen, with Watchmen being the latest adaptation that's had the entire entertainment industry buzzing for months. But quietly and somewhat under the radar, another successful Hollywood/comics couple recently renewed their vows in a small, private ceremony.

Smallville, the little TV show that could originally about Superman's teen years in his hometown, was just renewed for a no-one-could-have-seen-coming 9th season on the CW. That got us to thinking what other comic book properties not already earmarked for a feature film might translate well to the small screen.

So with a tip of the hat to concepts that are already being developed for TV (here's to you Powers, Fables and some others) here are Newsarama's Top 5 Choices for Comic Books That Should Be TV Shows.

5.) Strangers in Paradise

Creator Terry Moore's now-completed long-running series about friendship, sex, sexual identity, and oh … shadowy political conspiracy practically screams out "put me on Showtime". The narrative is quirky and non-linear, the characters are all real, flawed, engaging, and immersed in tangled webs of relationships, and the concept would be very well served by the "R-rated" freedom the pay-cable network enjoys.

The story of the difficult, sometimes romantic, always sexually-charged relationship between women best friends Francine and "Katchoo" would probably be enough to drive a comedic series on its own, but add in the "thriller" storyline about an organization of women trained in seduction and espionage whose purpose is to infiltrate the American political system, and you have a wholly unique TV concept.

And oh yeah, you demo-crunching TV execs out there, Strangers in Paradise is well-known as a comic book series that appeals to non-comic book readers, particularly women.

4.) Global Frequency

British writer Warren Ellis' Wildstorm series was an easy choice, because it actually was made into a TV series … well, a never-aired Mark ("Survivor") Burnett-produced pilot anyway that thanks to the ethically gray area of BitTorrent downloading, has been seen and apparently enjoyed by thousands of fans.

The reason it was made in the first place is the same reason it's still a good idea today - it’s a crackling good post-9/11 concept. The story of a covert intelligence organization whose members include 1001 sleeper agents that are activated when their special skills are needed to combat all manners of threats to the world (including terrorism), Global Frequency was actually originally written and published to easily translate to a weekly, episodic (as opposed to serial) TV series.

We can't recommend you illegally download the pilot, but the trade paperback is of course available for your reading pleasure at most comic book shops.

3.) The Walking Dead

Zombies still seem to be holding their own in movies and in comic books, and Robert Kirkman's Image Comics series about what happens to a band of still-human survivors after zombies overtake the world lends itself to weekly, serial or episodic treatment.

Kirkman intended the critically-acclaimed and fan-favorite series to show the long-term effects of a "zombie apocalypse" on both the world and its last human inhabitants, and has both borrowed elements from filmmakers like George Romero and created his own to weave together a vast and rich zombie mythology well worth exploring.

While this is another concept that might not be right for the major broadcast networks, this would be right up the alley of most of the usual basic and subscription cable suspects like HBO, FX, or even TNT.

2.) Gotham Central

Like Global Frequency we admit we're not exactly going out in a limb on this one. The once WB Network (now the CW) apparently once strongly considered a TV series based on the former award-winning (but sales challenged) Greg Rucka/Ed Brubaker-written DC Comic title, but decided against after the failure of another Bat-verse series, Birds of Prey.

Conceptually, the premise would make something of a logical successor to Smallville. A down-to-earth police procedural story, it tells stories of the Gotham City Police Department and its members and how they sometimes work around and in the shadow of Batman. In other words, it's a Batman story that doesn't actually require Batman.

Once Smallville finally sees a costumed Superman off to Metropolis permanently and the current Christian Bale-starring series of Batman films end, Gotham Central would make an intriguing TV bridge to whatever the next phase of Batman's big screen life is.

1.) "X"-Something or Other

No, that's not the actual title, it just means that while Marvel continues its big screen "X" franchise, it still has a vast library of characters populating its mutant/X-Men corner of their Universe whose rights aren't likely committed to a feature film, and decades worth of off-shoot comic book concepts and titles to cull a premise from.

The genetically-gifted "mutant" premise is simple and easily translatable to TV, and can thrive without the costumes and superhero-ish elements that often work better on film than in weekly television. The previous cheesy failed attempt aside (Generation X anyone?), a more mature, scaled-back Joss Whedon or J.J. Abrams-ish approach that lives in the periphery of the feature films and contains enough Marvel Universe elements and easter eggs to keep fanboys glued could make a strong go of it.

Marvel is running in all cylinders in movie theaters and has a thriving animation arm, so it's time the comic book giant made its live-action, primetime TV move.

So that's just some of our ideas, there are literally hundreds more out there. Got an idea of your own for a comic book TV series? Give and discuss your best Hollywood pitch with your fellow readers...


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