Imagining Booster Gold…the TV Show

images-1There are a lot of characters in the DC Universe that deserve a crack at the “small” screen. Wonder Woman and Aquaman come to mind as valiant efforts from the recent past that just didn’t manage to make the cut. But Wonder Woman and Aquaman seem to sort of transcend the DC brand itself, bringing with them a lot of preconceived notions from the general public. Being an icon comes with a lot of baggage, so there are expectations of what a show featuring Wonder Woman or Aquaman might look like. Simply put, if you ask the average Joe about Wonder Woman or Aquaman, you can be pretty damn sure that they’ll have some thoughts and/or opinions. You can try to re-imagine a Wonder Woman or an Aquaman on some level, but if you veer too far from what the masses think of these characters, you run the risk of ruffling some feathers. People have expectations, for better or worse.

That’s not exactly the case with DC’s Booster Gold, the beloved and slightly more imagesobscure DC character who is apparently on a kind of slow track to getting his own TV series, thanks to a pilot script order from the SyFy Network. It’s all a bit vague, but apparently Arrow co-creator Andrew Kreisberg has written the script and delivered it to the good folks at SyFy for their perusal. No guarantees of what will happen, of course, but one gets the sense that we could very well be seeing Booster in his very own show in the not too distant future. And as a fan of Booster Gold, I couldn’t be happier about the prospect of seeing ol’ Booster brought to life. Sure, he doesn’t talk to fish or fly an invisible jet, but Booster has a lot going for him as a character, even if he’s doesn’t have the built-in popularity of DC’s more iconic properties. It’s not the first time we’ve heard rumblings of a Booster Gold project, nor will it be first time Booster Gold makes an appearance on TV (he showed up on Smallville). But this latest round of Booster buzz seems to indicate that we’re closer than ever to seeing Booster Gold the TV show become a reality.

images-2Now I love Booster Gold and the idea of weekly episodes of Booster’s adventures has me genuinely excited. But while you’d be hard pressed to find non-comic book fans with expectations regarding a Booster Gold project, I happen to bring some of my own to the table. As is often the case with these sorts of things, my optimism comes with a fair amount of caution and skepticism, especially since Booster Gold is no ordinary superhero. Simply put, the news of a possible Booster Gold series on the SyFy Network has me wondering what the project as a whole is going to look like and if it will in fact live up to the core conceit and character elements that make Booster Gold unique among the other superheroes in the DCU.  Simply stated, the time traveling narcissist has a certain specificity to his character that I think needs to remain intact for a TV show to really deliver the goods.

First off, what makes Booster Gold such an atypical character is his desire to use his “powers” for his own personal gain. Sure, he makes altruistic decisions along the way, but Booster is nothing if not an opportunist, a man who takes his situation and what’s presented to him and opts to exploit them for both fame and personal financial gain. While Superman fights for the good of all mankind and Batman fights because the deaths of his parents compels him to do so, Booster does what he does because, simply put, it gets him attention. Booster Gold is all about the fame and monetization. And in this “look at me” world we live in, Booster seems to fit right in. That core conceit of self-serving action in the character has to be there if TV Booster is to distinguish himself. Ironically, these character flaws are what humanize Booster, as those of us who have imagined being a superhero can also imagine that twinge of desire to exploit one’s station in life. We’ve never seen a TV superhero who craves a movie deal or the tabloid spotlight, but these perhaps less than heroic traits are at the heart of what makes Booster tick. That said, it seems imperative to me that this potential show not soft-pedal the fact that Booster looks out for Booster first and foremost.

My fear is that the good folks at the network will get in there and start meddling. Not images-3hard to imagine a bunch of guys with no comic book experience balking at the idea of a show centered on a character who isn’t overtly “good” or formulaically fighting for truth, justice and the American way. That’s not the Booster I want to see. My wish list? I want to see the full Booster costume in all its yellow and blue glory. I want to see an unashamed exploration of reluctant hero with unquenchable thirst for the spotlight. And I definitely want to see Booster’s floating robot sidekick Skeets play a prominent role. I’m imagining Skeets as KITT from Knight Rider for a new generation.

Unfortunately, my real fear is that that the folks making the decisions will strip away all the fun and opt for a darker more serious overall tone. That’s certainly one way to go, and it’s how things are done most often these days when it comes to adapting comic book properties. But while idea of a ground-level, grittier Booster Gold might sound good to some, the fun of Booster Gold for me stems at least in part to a certain level of silliness inherent to the character. Generally speaking, the idea of Booster Gold being given the Arrow treatment and turning it into what amounts to a procedural show with Booster as crime-solver is sort of hard to get excited about.

images-4I couldn’t be happier that we’re living in a time when people are actually considering taking a character like Booster Gold and giving him his own show. But can a character that is so steeped in the unconventional appeal to a broad audience? Will people respond to a slightly random and decidedly imperfect character who is often more capitalist than superhero? Seems to have worked for Iron Man, though he has that whole icon thing going for him. And I suppose a show like Arrow works because they’ve taken the essence of the Green Arrow character and combined it with fairly typical TV tropes. But I’m not really interested in seeing some essence of the Booster character merged with TV formula. Of course, right now it’s all just conjecture and blind hope on my part. And there’s a good chance none of it will ever see the light of day. That’s just how TV works. Most projects (good, bad or otherwise) don’t make it past the pilot script phase anyway. In the end, I’m hopeful (perhaps blindly so) that Booster will get his shot. And maybe it won’t be the Dan Jurgens “comic book come to life” that I’m hoping for, but there’s always a chance.



Gabe Roth is a writer trapped in the suburbs of Los Angeles. He’s @gaberoth on Twitter.




  1. I hope the show, if it ever gets made, is in line with the tone of Eureka.

  2. I would love to see the show take a satirical mood. If there’s any character that can be used to lampoon the excesses and failings of capitalism, it’s Booster Gold.

    • I would argue that the excesses and failings of capitalism are tied to each individual person, and are thus not a flaw of capitalism itself but of the human condition. Everybody, to a varying extents, wants more than what they need. This is why socialism and communism usually lead to oppression: the greed in man’s heart will never go away. This is of course not a defense of corporatism, which is a thorn in the side of a truly free market.

      What Booster Gold is is an example is the failure of the “Cult of Personality” more than anything. If he just wanted money, he could steal it. No, he also wants to be loved by the masses.

  3. Two words that can work in Booster’s favor; Doctor Who. I think American audiences are used to a time travelling hero who can go “anywhen” enough to let a quirky character like Booster really inhabit the skin he should be in. Additionally, by using real world events and non dated hero events, you’ve got a ton of material to work with.

    As for the suit, I think it *can* work as well. The trick is to make it real world while not completely eliminating the superhero elements. Smallville did a good job of this, though I think they swerved a little too close to eliminating the comic book element. A friend and I cooked up a design last year that, in my opinion at least, comes pretty close to that ideal.

  4. Booster Gold and Blue Beetle would be the 2 DC heroes I’d pick for tv treatment. Why? Because they both show something new, they’re not traditional superheroes, and there’s fun in them (to me at least, they’re not dark characters.). I think BG has the Green Pantern problem tho, he’s too out there. One of the (many many many) criticisms of “Green Lantern” was how fantastical it was (Wish somebody would’ve said that to Thor). It’s like people can’t grasp that a superhero doesn’t have to be this tragic figure running around in spandex and keeping it all in the realm of possiblity. That to me is Booster’s biggest hurdle, make people just go with it and give it a chance. The second biggest hurdle? It’s on SyFy, the same network bringing all these “haunted” collector shows and that shitty “Phantom” pilot. They absolutely have had good shows, but do they outweigh the bad? It’s probably still the best network for this kind of show tho. If they do this, show alittle bit of the future, how Booster’s current life sucks (I seem to remember he was a security guard), meet Skeets, and say “F it, I’m going to the past and being a star!” and boom, into the present day with meeting agents and all that junk, then when he’s about to give up he actually does something heroic.

    And make it fun(ny), it’s a guy from the future who wants to make it big. Maybe treat it like “Entourage” where most of the characters are jerks or self-centered but underneath they’re just regular guys. The right lead is crucial for this, the guy who played Booster in Smallville was ok but you couldn’t do a series around him. Maybe Luke Wilson, Tom Felton, Milo Ventigglio, or the guy who plays Batista’s partner on “Dexter” who’s name escapes me but now I realize he could be prefect for the role! (I’ll come back with his name).

    The bad thing is there’s already that other “Continum” with a similair premise but I thought the first episode sucked hard, I don’t know how well it’s doing but hopefully it doesn’t cause a problem.

    Even if it only makes it to the pilot, I’d want to see it. The Aquaman pilot was pretty boss and should have been made a series.

  5. I’d like to see a JLI show done in the style of Batman the Brave and the Bold, but make it more adult friendly and maybe put it in the Toonami block and see how it does.

  6. Man, I hope they can do this right, it would be fantastic. 20 years ago, Bruce Campbell would have been perfect for this role (maybe he can be Rip Hunter later?!). It needs someone who has the physicality to do it but also can be funny while being an arrogant, boorish but likeable straight-man too. I hope they cast it well. Ryan Reynolds would have been a good candidate for this, pre GL.

    This needs to be fun, funny, and action packed. It also has comedic potential as a fish-out-of-water story too. I think they also need to pair him up with the Ted Kord Blue Beetle. Start them out where they meet, and Booster treats Ted like his sidekick, even though Ted has been a hero much longer, has more experience, and has connections in the super hero world. Booster should “talk down” to Ted, and Ted’s reactions will be part of the fun. As their friendship grows, so does their respect for each other, until the are equals. Booster would slip back into his boorishness from time to time for a laugh, Ted would correct him…

    I also don’t know if I would introduce time travel elements until late in the first season or even at the end into the second (other than what is related to his arrival in our time). Season finale, Rip Hunter shows up – “You’re in a hell of a lot of trouble, buddy!”

    Here’s the trailer I imagine:

    Heroic music, building… Shadowy figure walking down a shadowy hall in slow motion. Echoing voice-overs, different voices, as the character moves down the hallway, with key words showing on the screen:

    “with GREAT POWER”

    “battle for TRUTH… JUSTICE…”

    Occasional flash of blue or gold in a shaft of light – and arm here, a boot there, as the words continue:

    “I swear to AVENGE your deaths…”
    “DEFEND the WEAK…”
    “fight EVIL…”

    The figure stops, still in shadows, camera panning up the silhouette, music swelling to a crescendo, as the main voice-over starts:

    “If you had super powers, would you use them to fight evil… stop injustice…help your fellow man…”

    Music stops.

    “Or to GET RICH, BABY!” spoken by Booster as the lights come up. Cue instrumental chorus of Van Halen’s “Hot for Teacher” there stands Booster Gold, grinning, thumbs up! Confetti! Champagne! Super models in bikinis! Paparazzi! Adoring fans!

    “BOOSTER GOLD. Coming this fall on SyFy”

    Hell yeah!

  7. What’s funny to me is there’s almost two generations of Booster Gold fans. Those older fans who know him as the guy who came from the future and was genuinely a little vapid and fought super-villains in the present; and then the guy from 52 who was serious but put on an act and bounced around the timestream fixing history. I imagine the former would be what would be more adaptable to TV.

    • If that’s true I feel sorry for the new 52 readers. The rebooted JLI was tediously boring.

      He was at his best post-Infinite Crisis, I think. A solid hero who was a little dumb and screwed up a lot, but trying his hardest, and with a greater destiny than he probably deserved.

  8. As someone who has read a lot of Booster Gold stories (and I mean a lot) it surprises me that even people who like Booster seem to have this preconceived notion of him. Yes Booster is more selfish than the average hero, yes he was more about the fame back when he started, but he’s never been selfish to the point of evil like a lot of people portray him. Even in the original Booster ongoing and the early issues of JLI he helped people with no reward all the time. He just took advantage of his helping people when the opportunity presented itself.

    My theories for this project is they either go the route of the old Booster stories where he was a nice guy who wanted to help people, but if it could benefit him it would be better, OR my big fear is they portray Booster as the characterization of himself he put on during 52, but genuine. Where he is selfish to the point of almost being evil and plastering sponsorships onto his costume. If it’s the latter then then it would be kinda doomed from day one.

    • Some of that might be from the “Justice League” cartoon (“Isn’t Green Lantern a black guy?”). That was my first exposure to the character, but it made me like him right away. I like how in his first episode he actually did help people even tho they confused him with GL and it didn’t help his cred. He’d almost be a hardluck hero if he wasn’t so focused on making it big. But I see what you’re saying, I think they just need to play up the selfish angle alittle to make him stand out now.

    • It’s kind of like with Hawkeye – he was tricked into almost doing some vaguely criminal stuff in one issue forty years ago, and at some point someone decided that made him a tough-as-nails former supervillain.

  9. I love Booster! Hope he gets another comic book ongoing! The last series was awesome!
    Don’t know it he would work as a stand alone TV show, though. He is working so well because you have him standing apart from the other big time DC heroes. As soon as you make him the only superhero, or you don’t show the others at least in the beginning of the show, a lot of his appeal won’t work,

  10. “We’ve never seen a TV superhero who craves a movie deal or the tabloid spotlight”

    Batmanuel from the Tick

    That show was utterly hilarious. I think they canceled it due to budget concerns. But they brilliantly achieved a super-hero parody without being demeaning to the source material. Likely because they got Ben Edlund (The Tick’s creator) working on it.

    And there you go; get Ben Edlund to work on a Booster Gold/Blue Beetle show. He could even recycle a couple of the jokes The Tick used for Blue Beetle.