Marvel TV - Here's a thought for you, Mr. Feige and Mr. Whedon

Marvel TV - Here's a thought for you, Mr. Feige and Mr. Whedon

With so many characters to choose from, how will the Marvel/Disney brass decide? Well, why do they have to limit themselves to one or a few characters? Welcome to ... the Marvel Zone. do do, do do, do do, do do...

When Marvel announced their exclusive deal with Joss Whedon running through June 2015, it was easy to understand two of the three parts of the deal: writing/directing Avengers 2, and contributing to the creative vision of Phase 2. Those two elements we KNOW for a fact what he will be doing – writing/directing the Avengers 2 and rewriting, giving notes, and help map Phase 2 and beyond.

It’s the third one that’s caused the most speculation and intrigue: developing a live-action TV show for ABC.

Anyone familiar with Whedon’s work knows he loves and is great at writing strong female characters: Buffy, River Tam on Firefly, Doll House, even Black Widow in The Avengers had a much bigger role than folks anticipated. So the safe bet is that Whedon will develop a female character for Marvel’s TV effort. There are the ladies of Heroes For Hire – Misty Knight, Colleen Wing, Jessica Jones; Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk, Spider-Woman, Hell Cat, etc. Heroes For Hire stands out as it seems the most relatable and easiest, from a budget standpoint, to develop for TV.

But I’d like to offer a completely different idea: MARVEL TALES.

I’m not talking about the Marvel comic that reprinted old super-hero stories. I mean a show that takes lesser-known and arguably less cinematic characters and strings them together, loosely, in an on-going series. Like a Robert Altman film, take multiple characters and storylines, occasionally have them intersect, and at the end of the day, build a story out of the enormous canvas you have to play with. In other words, it would be a lot like the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), just on a smaller scale.

Imagine one week having a Heroes For Hire story (not with Luke Cage & Iron Fist; they’re destined for the silver screen), the next week a Punisher story, the next Cloak & Dagger, the next Morbius (a great anti-hero to capitalize on the vampire craze). Then, assuming Marvel gets the rights back, and it might be heresy to even suggest to the Marvel faithful, but Daredevil would fit into this world nicely, along with frenemy Electra and all the wicked and awesome side characters. The next week could be a creepy Man-Thing story set in the Louisiana bayou. Even a, gulp, Howard The Duck tale, no pun intended. How about the inspector gadget-Mr. Data of the Marvel world, Machine Man? He’d make a great TV character. Or Deathlok. Heck, even spotlight villains that might not otherwise ever see the light of the silver screen, villains that have a rich history and interesting story, like The Hood, Taskmaster, The Wrecking Crew. Throw SHIELD into the mix and you have the thread that connects TV to the MCU.

TV is perfect for these “smaller” heroes and villains because it allows for the slow unfolding and development of character and story. What might, on the surface, seem like a flimsy hero, could turn out to be complex, funny, or heartbreaking if given room to breathe. The Punisher is a perfect example. In the movies he’s had to be this tormented killing machine, but given the chance to have episodes where he’s maybe a little less homicidal, we could really get to know and care about Frank Castle.

Over the course of a season or over multiple seasons, you tell the ongoing stories of each of these characters/teams and let us fall in love with them. Who knows, maybe one or more will be so popular, Marvel will have NO CHOICE but to make a movie.

I can already see the opening of the show. Remember the Twilight Zone show opening? “You just crossed over into…The Twilight Zone.” It was cool and creepy and you immediately knew you were about to be immersed in a different world. Marvel Tales could have that same feel. “Welcome to …Tales from the Marvel Universe.” Or something to that effect.

I know I’m missing a ton of heroes and villains that would work well into this mix – and by no means am I trying to insult these characters by suggesting their place is on TV instead of in theaters. Instead, I’m suggesting that the path to seeing these characters sooner rather than later might be TV. Marvel has so many films on their plate already that we’re going to have to wait at least a few years if not longer for some of the awesome ones we KNOW will be cinematic – Black Panther, Doctor Strange, Iron Fist, and so on.

So while Marvel is busy mapping out their grand landscape, they can set Joss Whedon to, amongst other things, map out the smaller, but no less important, TV landscape. He’s proven he’s a master of juggling 6, 7, 8 characters. Here’s an opportunity to juggle dozens.
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superotherside - 8/10/2012, 12:46 PM
Great idea.
Bane2099 - 8/10/2012, 12:52 PM
Marvel Tales doesnt sound like a bad idea, I'd love to see week after week of new stories and characters introduced little by little and show their place in the MCU...and it would be fun to have actual stars play the characters, its not like it would take that much time out of their schedules to do a week long storyline for the character they are playing...and maybe have cameos from already established MCU characters or mentions of them.
80sFace - 8/10/2012, 12:56 PM
@ ComicCritic - Marvel seems committed to doing TV, so I was commenting on what they should do, not if they should. Also, IMHO, there's a renaissance on TV. Just watch Mad Men, Justified, Breaking Bad, and a dozen other amazing quality shows. They're all about character and story arcs that unfold slowly. That's what I would hope Marvel is shooting for.

Thanks guys for the other comments.
SimyJo - 8/10/2012, 1:01 PM
I really hope decent TV superhero shows take off (no pun intended) - and i wish Marvel's tv efforts all the best.

With regards to Batman and Spiderman (aka: Heroes with the greatest rogues gallery of nemesis) A TV series with different arcs covering different villains would be absolutely perfect.
Advocate - 8/10/2012, 1:12 PM
@ComicCritic More people have TVs than they do computers, my friend. I don't think television as a resource for entertainment is on a decline, but the quality is, which is why it's much easier and convenient to resort to a means of internet entertainment.

Plus, most shows, after airing an episode, post episodes from the past few weeks on its website for viewers who couldn't catch the air time. You go to the site, click on the specific show, and have access to episodes, interviews, etc. This is the place where those little 10 minute clips could be placed as supplement to the TV show itself. I wouldn't try and fully introduce any superhero, but I would definitely take that opportunity to cameo someone or tease the idea of a new actor coming to the screen.

As for the original poster, this idea is probably one that should be taken into consideration. If you've ever watched Once Upon a Time (an ABC show as well) they tried doing the exact same thing with Disney/fairy tale characters. It was pretty cool, but the means they used to base all of the characters became the central theme and the story tend not to stray from that for most of the season. However, if Marvel used S.H.I.E.L.D. as the basis for this Marvel Tales idea, then it could kind of show a behind-the-scenes look at what the organization has to do even when they aren't teaming up with other people. For instance, how does the organization deal with the aftermath of all the chaos brought on by all these different superheroes? It could be a fluid comical, dramatized series that captivates the essence of S.H.I.E.L.D. so that come silver screen time, no one really has to get a lot of information on the organization and we can focus on the big characters and the unfolding story.

You mention a lot of characters as well, in the sense that each week is a different hero. But I think an approach similar to how Smallville did their incorporation would work well. Like I said, have S.H.I.E.L.D. be the basis, but their story constantly comes in contact with these other heroes. Maybe it's two at the same time (some type of superhero clash) or one over a few weeks' span, depending on the level of depth required to tell a story. Smallville had the idea, but they definitely seemed afraid to bring in too many other heroes too suddenly. That's what Marvel should throw caution to the wind on. Maybe the series only lasts a few seasons. It would be wise to get as vivid a picture as possible before people like Whedon move on and you're left without a painter.

And if it were in a Marvel Tales sort of way, I could very easily picture some segments of the show devoted to a few episodes of one hero's tale where it becomes a period piece of sorts. For instance, the 40s and 50s could have some huge interconnection with Cap, Bucky, Howling Commandos, Invaders, etc. Kind of like a mini-series the way Band of Brothers was, but the mini-series would just be part of the larger series.
80sFace - 8/10/2012, 1:29 PM
@Advocate - nice ideas. I wouldn't be surprised if it's some combination. I was thinking about how Lost - love it or hate it - had episodes devoted to individual character backstory. Those turned out to be some of the most powerful. I would still argue it's stronger to start with individual character and, via their story arc, SHIELD could get involved. Or not. I LOVE the notion of "what is SHIELD doing when they're not dealing with world altering events like in the Avengers?" It might just be keeping tabs from a distance over these other cool/wacky/awesome superheroes.

@ComicCritic - I don't have demographics or viewership #s. I'm saying Marvel IS creating a TV show. That's what they've said. If you're advocating for the internet, by all means take that up with Marvel. Or watch it on the internet if that's what floats your boat. If you're suggesting the demographic isn't the same as, say, Mad Men, Game Of Thrones or Breaking Bad, I'd say those shows do well enough to be renewed and have a strong following; especially in the case of GoT, the viewership has gotten bigger and broader. And it's a lot of the same audience. Do you want a Power Pack show, is that what you're saying? Or, like a high school the musical show? There's nothing wrong with that if that's what you're saying - well... - but in my humble opinion, I'd love to see these smaller characters rolled out and given room to breathe.
dezdigi - 8/10/2012, 1:52 PM
I like it!
juliochapulin - 8/10/2012, 2:06 PM
Dude that´s Something cool!!!!
Darkknight2149 - 8/10/2012, 3:38 PM
It would be awesome if they did that with a Marvel Knights TV show with darker heroes or other heroes that wouldn't fit, or probably wouldn't be featured in anytime soon, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, such as Punisher, Blade, Daredevil (if rights revert back to Marvel), Howard The Duck, Ghost Rider (if reverted back to Marvel), Luke Cage (unless we see him on the silver screen), ETC. Even a Nick Fury story, just about him, even though he is featured heavily in the MCU movies.
sikwon - 8/10/2012, 3:43 PM
personaly i think DareDevil would be perfect for a t.v show. there is always the ongoing legal story lines. hes based in new york and can interact with virtualy every one. there are quality love interests, lots of back storys and flexability with future storys. you could easily have heros for hire, the punisher, king pin, an avenger here and there, she hulk. DD really does provide the best flexability. plus hes a good character. and with bulls eye and the king pin he can have the main villians already there. honestely DD is built to be a quality tv show.
Darkknight2149 - 8/10/2012, 3:53 PM
@my last comment. Even Hulk could be featured. I mean, Hulk villains The Leader and Abomination have been set up and are currently alive in the MCU. And so is Doc Sampson, one of the good guys.
Cerebro - 8/10/2012, 4:32 PM
You are on to something with this idea, but it should be the Watcher that introduces/narrates these characters week to week stories. Watcher=Rob Sterling for Twilight Zone.
Advocate - 8/10/2012, 4:48 PM
@80sFace Yeah, I mean the way Whedon is able to thread together multiple characters I wouldn't be surprised if all of the odd superheroes were intertwined delicately. I'd say stage it after the Avengers battle. Reconstruction, the works. Maybe show some footage ala Stark's reviewing of Hulk's demolition in Avengers? But have the original Avenger team kick off (in some small way) the need for this montage of other superheroes to take place.

Maybe even have some other organization. I'm not very knowledgeable of on at the moment. Have that be a rising "villain" in the story arc of the first season. That way while S.H.I.E.L.D. is trying to recruit, maybe do some research on what's to come in Phase 2, and fix all the damage caused during Phase 2, this organization could be plotting to also do some damage so to speak. Perhaps their pull could be recruiting supervillains? So the first season is a very geeky, comic-based treat for the viewers, still very complex. But the second season gets more complex with the introduction of the opposite side of the coin, the villains. Of course, this doesn't have to be the formula verbatim, but it would be nice to see origin stories and rogue heroes, etc. struggle or rise to assert themselves in the Marvel world, having some inner conflict with government, superheroes, and S.H.I.E.L.D. as the mediators before we get into the classic clashes of good vs. evil.
DanMcNice - 8/10/2012, 5:03 PM
That sounds great!!
80sFace - 8/10/2012, 5:50 PM
@Cerebro - the Watcher...that's brilliant!
CorndogBurglar - 8/11/2012, 6:39 AM
@ comiccritic

All you have to do is look at the success of TELEVISION shows like The Walking Dead, True Blood, or Breaking Bad. Point is, if a show interests people, they will watch it.

How many webseries have ever had the kind of success that TV shows have? None. Why is that? Because everyone has a TV and watches it for a few hours a day. by comparison, very few people go online to watch webisodes of anything. Its not even a comparison.

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