Recently I was listening to the first part of The Loeb Report on Word Balloon and I was listening to Jeph Loeb discuss his new role at Marvel as the Executive Vice President, Head of Television and my mind began to wander. I have to admit that given Loeb's established success in the world of television in the past 10 years on shows like Smallville, Lost and Heroes, that this was a very good move for Marvel. I began to imagine that someday we could see a primetime series based on a Marvel comics property, and it was here where my mind ran wild.
And so, I present to you the readers, and to you Jeph Loeb if you're out there, the Top 10 Marvel TV Shows that Jeph Loeb should develop.
Now before we get into it, I should admit that I know that Mr. Loeb probably already has his own short list of shows to develop and even if he didn't, there's a legal reason why he can't take any of my ideas below, I get that. Now I may be crazy, but since I love Marvel Comics SO much, I'm going to waive any right to these show ideas. That's right, if Marvel decides to take me up on any of my ideas, they can have them! I wouldn't sue or demand payment or anything. Just being able to watch a primetime show based on a Marvel property would be payment enough. You hear that Loeb? Now bust out your pencil, as you should be taking notes from here on out…
1. Runaways - This one is such a no-brainer, so much so that the movie apparently is already in development, but I think it works better as a TV show. The concept behind the Brian K. Vaughan created series is almost made for television. Take a group of kids, diverse in all areas from race to interests to fashion, and unite them by their revelation that their parents are members of a secret group of super-villains. You don't even need to go over the top with the super-villain aspect, just make their parents criminals and evil, with some fantastical element. The kids then runaway and boom, you have your season. Each episode is another "on the run" type of episode, as they uncover more and more secrets about their parents and the world around them. Get Vaughan to be the show runner, after his experience working on Lost, I'm sure he could hack it. Your cast is mainly kids so you'd attract a younger audience and the mystery/science fiction/fantasy elements would pull in the adults. Put this on at 8 PM and you've got a hit.
2. Cloak & Dagger - Relegated to the C-List at Marvel Comics these days, Cloak and Dagger are the perfect canidates for a street level drama about fighting crime and injustice in an urban environment. Sure in the comics, they have powers (Cloak can acess a dark dimension and teleport himself and people in and out of it while Dagger can create daggers of light) and you could keep them, or honestly you could ditch them. Focus on the anti-drug message of the original story, making Cloak and Dagger recovering addicts out to help those who aren't as lucky as they were, and you could have a show that not only would deliver tough, street level action but would have a message.
3. Daily Bugle – Picture this: The elevator opens to the bustling newsroom of a major New York City newspaper. Reporters running around the office, the sound of typing creating a symphony of news throughout the hallway, when all of a sudden a booming voice comes at the end of the floor. It's none other than editor-in-chief J. Jonah Jameson berating another young cub reporter who slinks away and as he passes you says "Good Luck." It's your first day on the job as the new beat reporter for The Daily Bugle and this is your world. Set in New York City in the universe of Spider-Man, Daily Bugle would be an office drama set in the newspaper world. Sure there may be mentions or references to Spider-Man, but the show is not about Spider-Man, it's about the world we all live in, with Spider-Man in it, and chasing that perfect story and hoping that you can avoid Jameson's wrath for just one more day. Hire J.K. Simmonds to reprise his perfect casting as Jameson, get a young cast of reporters and you have yourself another hit show.
4. Nova – After the success of Battlestar Galactica on TV, I think the world is ready for another science fiction type show and who better than one of my personal favorite characters, Richard Rider, better known as Nova the Human Rocket? Combining the coming of age elements that made Smallville a success with the cosmic wonder and adventures in space that made Battlestar Galactica must see TV, Nova would be an action packed show that would tell the story of what happens when a Long Island teenager is handed the helmet of a space cop. Combining the original direction of the old Marv Wolfman comics with the cosmic expansiveness with the current Nova stories by Abnett and Lanning, you have at least 3 years of story arcs as Rider matures into the hero the universe needs. Throw in some sort of impending villain in the form of Thanos or Annilhus and you're all set.
5. Pryde – I'll be honest, this is one of my favorite concepts. I'll keep the pitch as simple as can be: Kitty Pryde, freshman at Northwestern University in Chicago. It just clicks, doesn't it? After spending her formative teen years at Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters in New York, Kitty returns to Chicago to be close to her family and get a top notch education. But she's hiding something. What could it be? Could it be that she can walk through walls? That maybe she's a mutant? When her Russian boyfriend comes to visit, her roommates begin to get awfull suspicious! Like Daily Bugle, this show exists in the world of the X-Men, but we never see them or even refer to them by name, rather it's just this lingering presence, that we the audience know about and get excited and hope that maybe some day we'll see the X-Men, but for the majority of the show, it's the trials and tribulations of Kitty at college just trying to fit in. Hire Joss Whedon as the show runner (considering Buffy was basically his take on Kitty) and you have a show that won't get canceled, unlike Dollhouse
6. What The..? - Now I've heard that the Big Bang Theory is a good show, I've never watched an episode, but come on. We know we can do better. What if there was a 1/2 hour sitcom set in a comic book store, staffed by a group of the most die-hard comic book nerds around. Then what if that store got sold to a new owner, who knows nothing about comics. Hilarity ensues! Imagine all the comedy that can come from harkening back to the days of the classic comedy comic What The…?, where Marvel regularly poked fun at their characters. Now imagine if that comedy was brought into the modern age, with some sharp writers writing for mainstream America who all know how the Hulk and Spider-Man are? I can tell you, I'd watch this, even if it was on CBS.
7. Black Cat – Can you think of a better show concept than a beautiful woman with long, white hair who by day is a private investigator and by night, a cat burglar? But this thief has a heart of gold and we learn that she uses her skills as a master thief to not only help her private investigating practice, but to do good…just outside the law. An edgy heroine that modern women could identify with an rally around, and you have a show that could easily last on TNT and would be way better than The Closer.
8. Inhumans - They walk among us! But they're hiding something! They look like us, they sound like us, but they're different. They're not human! No! They're INHUMANS! A new family moves into the neighborhood and they look normal, but they're far from normal. The father is a mute, the mother's long flowing red hair almost moves by itself, and their dog. Well let's just say he's awfully big for a bulldog. Playing on the paranoia theme, Inhumans could be a great mix of mystery and fantasy as we're introduced to a race of people who have been driven from their home, scattered across the US and are trying to not only survive, but find one another. A bit of a departure from the classic Inhumans that we know of, but the concept of these secretly powered people who look like us is one that could be a winner, extending the suspense for years.
9. Murdock, Attorney at Law - Wil the demise of the Law and Order franchise, there's a gap in legal dramas. Now's the time to strike with this uplifting story of a blind lawyer fighting the good fight in New York City. Raised on the mean streets of Hell's Kitchen, Matt Murdock takes the cases that no one will, fighting social injustice and the crime wave that is invading his beloved city. But what happens when the legal system doens't get the job done? Can this seemingly handicapped lawyer take the law into his own hands? Taking a cue of the slow burn of Smallville, this evolutionary story of Matt Murdock could chronicle his journey leading to when he dons the red and yellow, and then the red, costume of Daredevil. The story becomes less about who Matt Murdock is, and rather who he will become. Take a visual cue from Alex Maleev's dark and urban style from his recent run on Daredevil with Brian Michael Bendis, and you've got another winner.
And finally, the last TV show idea I came up, which is also my hands down favorite:
10. The Bullpen - It's the year 1961, John F. Kennedy has taken office and the world seems to be a place of wonder, with the future at our doorstep. Deep in New York City, in a dingy office a man in a suit comes in and slams a comic book down on the table. It's a Justice League of America comic book and he barks at the thin writer who's perched in front of his typewriter, "Why don't we have comics like this!?" The writer shrugs and turns to his left, to his partner, the artist who's smoking a cigar while hanging over his draftsman table. They look at each other and nod knowingly and get to work. And thus Marvel Comics are born. Pulling from the real life adventures of Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Larry Lieber, hell, even throw in Vinny Colletta for comedy relief, the Bullpen would be a period piece that would dramatize the early days of Marvel Comics as they created the characters that we know and love today. Borrowing a little bit from The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay (maybe get Michael Chabon as a writer?) and definitely riding the coattails of Mad Men, The Bullpen could be the type of Sunday night program that would capture the minds and imaginations of millions.
So there you have it. 10 easy ideas for TV shows for Jeph Loeb to develop for Marvel. With such a deep and wide breath of characters in the Marvel Universe, coming up with these ideas was easy. Almost too easy. I wonder if I picked the wrong profession. But I know how hard it can be to actually get a TV show made. Hopefully Loeb is up to the task along with the rest of Marvel TV and someday, we'll be able to come home and watch one of our favorite shows, based on some of our favorite characters. Until then, I'll just keep coming up with ideas.
Oh an Mr. Loeb, if you need to contact me, just call my agent.
I don't have an agent.
Just email me and THEN I'll get an agent.