Dashiell Badhorse - Taylor Lautner
This comic from Jason Aaron and R.M. Guera looks at crime on an Indian reservation in the middle of America. It’s looks at it very frankly and in often brutal ways. People get hurt in this comic, often, and it doesn’t shy away from the terrible and toxic relationships people develop, with themselves, with others, with drugs. Racial slurs are traded evenly between the cops, the Indians, and the Chinese gang that come in from time to time.
This comic does not mess about and that goes for the level of its quality, too; this comic is phenomenal. If you’ve ever looked into the pages of Scalped I’m sure you got hooked within a few issues. Now imagine that on your screens each week. If we can have horror on our screen I think we can have crime as well, if the glut of CSI & Law & Orders are anything to go by. Scalped has a longform story shown through various arcs and the characters are rich and all own the scenes they are in.
This would be premiere television and if cinematic mastermind Martin Scorsese was behind it all I could only imagine the production value and the grit of the nasty people getting stuck in everyone’s teeth. I am also going to go out on a limb, and feel free to saw through it for me, but I’d be interested in seeing if Taylor Lautner of Twilight fame could pull off the lead role of Dashiell Badhorse. They’re both buff, so there’s that, but I wonder if Lautner has the acting chops to really get the job done. I’m just floating the idea here but you never know, it could happen.
2 - Northlanders
Brian Wood’s Northlanders is a series of Viking epics are character based tales set in the olden days of boats and maidens and plenty of the old school ultra-violence. Each arc takes us to a different character, or time frame, and Wood makes sure to give us everything we need and nothing superfluous. It would make a very tense and brutal show that I could see gaining a following quite easily. People have followed the tube into ancient Rome so why not another well scripted ancient series?
Having James Cameron involved would only ensure that the authenticity of the period was retained and the production values on the water were superb. I’d like to see Cameron get some of his fat Avatar dollars invested in other actual good stories. This one has promise and I’d love to see someone give it the complete devotion it deserves.
3 - Y: The Last Man
Executive Producer - Alan Ball
Yorick Brown – Justin Long
They’re talking about making this as a movie, or maybe three movies, but even then you know there’d be stacks they’d miss. Why not make the tale of the world’s last surviving man into a television show? He’s out to try and find his girlfriend in Australia all while avoiding marauding ‘Amazons’ and probably falling in love a few times along the way.
It’s a funny story, and a heartfelt one too, but there are moments of serious drama and tension that would work perfectly on the small screen. The main draw would be the tale that does take years to unfold, so there’s no worry of actors aging as the characters will as well. I rate this as my favourite story of all time so the chance to watch it for a few years would entertain me to no end.
I think Justin Long would be perfect for the lead role of Yorick, though with each passing year he’s not looking so spot on for the role anymore. I don’t know who else might step up to make this great character a reality. As for Alan Ball, he seems to know how to take a property and put it onto the big screen with plenty of longform storytelling so I'd trust him on this one.
4 - Ex Machina
Mitchell Hundred - Jon Hamm
Ex Machina was pitched as the West Wing meets Unbreakable and this tale of a superhero turned mayor of New York just has great drama television written all over it. In a world where LOST can headline for years and ghosts can be seen in Rescue Me I think the viewing public are ready for a political candidate that can speak to machines.
There are many great characters in this story and multiple story arcs would carry season perfectly. The fact it even has an end date would be a better sell as we’d hopefully know how many seasons we were in for, if there were to stay relatively true to the text.
It might seem a bit obvious but I’d love to see Aaron Sorkin run this show as he’d be a perfect match for Brian K Vaughan’s original dialogue. Considering BKV has written for LOST before I think he could do a good job as well, if he’d be willing. I could see this being relatively easy to recreate on the small screen, budget and effects wise, and it is certainly one damn fine story. Having someone like Jon Hamm play Mayor Hundred would be pretty exceptional, though many might only ever see him as Don Draper from now on.
5 - Criminal
Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips have created five different Criminal arcs, so far. Each one deals with the depravity of the criminal underworld and wraps this character portrait around a very well plotted and tight noir story.
Each arc would then make for one great little season of about ten episodes and the characters and actors can rotate as needed. There’d be violence, for sure, but nothing that hasn’t been seen on screens before. The important thing is that everything counts in this tale, there are no cool moments thrown out for the sake of it, this is just great storytelling with superb characters.
Having David Simon, of The Wire fame, run the show would bring in a sense of the real world to these tales. Just because they are comics doesn’t mean they aren’t good stories, and they most certainly take place in the real world. You just aim a camera and shoot it into the night and rain with Brubaker’s words coming out of there and you’re going to capture some of the magic of this comic.
6 - Gotham Central
Showrunner – Denis Leary
Gotham Central is a comic about the cops of Gotham City. They deal with crimes, just like any cops, but they also deal with the enemies of Batman and even sometimes the Batman himself. They have a massive chip on their collective shoulder because one man in a cape and cowl combo manages to do more for the city than a whole squad of them, or so it would seem. Brubaker, Rucka and Lark created this world from the ground up and the beauty of the comic was that it was so heavily character focused. The cops are the story not the crime.
I’m unashamedly a fan of Rescue Me and it’s interesting because though it’s about firefighters in New York City it’s also about guys. It’s a massive character piece and Leary completely understands that. He gets the relationships and the garbage that comes with living at your work and having a family there. He could do this show great justice and it would be unlike anything you’ve ever seen in a comic adaptation before. And you wouldn’t even really need to ever have Batman on screen, though you would need those villains.
7 - The Immortal Iron Fist
Showrunner - Damon Lindelof
It’s been pretty mainstream so far so let me inject a personal superhero favourite and one I truly think could work on the small screen. Danny Rand is a kung fu billionaire. He’s the immortal weapon of the mystical city of K’un L’un and his nemesis, the Steel Serpent, is out for his power. Throw in Misty Knight and Colleen Wing as supporting players and then you just slowly build up the menace of HYDRA. It would be perfect.
Lindelof showed on LOST that he knows how to treat legacy, mysticism, massive organisations, and awesome in a television show. He’s a very open nerd and he could make this show true to the character but possibly also something completely more than the source material. He could produce a show that is well written, dense, and longform, which I think are elements that Iron Fist certainly could use.
8 - DMZ
Showrunner - David Chase
DMZ is Brian Wood's tale of young journalist Matty Roth and his experiences within the war zone that Manhattan Island has become. It’s a different reality and timeline but some of the atrocities and terrible actions are all too completely real, instead here it’s all dumped on US soil. Each arc seems to find a new focus for Matty in his exploits as one of the few press people in the front line of this sad and crumbled city. It mixes current war events with great characterisation and the room for all sorts of varied groups of people and the opportunity to do some very longform storytelling.
A television series for this show would be pretty epic on scale, as they show a completely destroyed and vagrant city but it would also be extremely rich in characters and brilliant storylines. It’s the sort of story you wouldn’t even realise came from a comic and I think that sort of thing needs to be established as well. And with David Chase being free of his Sopranos he could stretch in a new direction by tackling this show.
9 - Gødland
Executive Producer - Richard Linklater
Hear me out on this one; Gødland is an insanely creative and facemelting piece of comics brought to us from Joe Casey and Tom Scioli, via the id of Jack Kirby and plenty of perception altering drugs. This show would be exceptionally difficult to adapt for any other medium but I think it would work if you made it as a bunch of shorts. Maybe 5 minutes, maybe 15 minutes, take a various approach, make it a rotoscoped visual and I think you’d have a winner. Plenty of effects, plenty of laughs, and a whole screen full of awesome.
As much as this series bends some rules of comics, and just reinterprets others, this story could absolute break the television medium in half. It would be unlike anything else being produced right now and I’d love that. Comics can be presented in different formats and I think this sort of story would be perfect for showing that television's structure can change as well.
10 - The Daily Bugle
Executive Producer - Joss Whedon
Showrunner - Bill Lawrence
I always remember watching Ron Howard’s The Paper and loving the hell out of that movie. Now imagine that those reporters are writing tales of superheroes and major cosmic events. You have that stuff in the background, there’s always some sort of Secret Invasion or Civil War raging but then you focus on the characters. You’ve got J. Jonah Jameson as the terrible boss, Robbie Robertson as the wise guide, Betty Brant as the eye candy, if you can get Peter Parker that’s cool, otherwise go for Eddie Brock, maybe, the Jameson Jr, and then just create a bunch of others. Of course, with Whedon and Lawrence you’d have a bunch of entry level journalist cadets starting off and trying to find their place with Ben Urich being their mentor.
This sort of series has the ability showcase stories that are heartfelt, funny, scary, sexy, awesome, and anything else you really want. The news encapsulates the world and when that world is the Marvel U you have plenty of ways to go. There are opportunities for plenty of winks to the audience but it need not exactly be beholden to anything.
Hey gang, Matt here! As it turns out, both Ryan and I had the same idea for a post, at the same time. Of course, Ryan is way more prolific than I am so he wrote up the whole thing while I was narrowing down my choices. That being said, I still had a couple more ideas that he didn't think of, so they are included in this bonus round of Top Ten Tuesday!
1 - Alias
There are a couple of things working against making an adaptation of Brian Bendis and Michael Gaydos, the most notable is that there was already a TV series called Alias. The comic, however, stars former superhero Jessica Jones as a private investigator, who is going through a very rough time making ends meet and is just all around having a bad year. The best way to go about this one would be to take the early Smallville route, and impose a tough “No Costumes” rule, and I think it would work pretty well. With Jessica Jones as the lead, each episode could be self contained (or small story arcs) mysteries or cases that she worked in, that add to the bigger character arc for her. Have a few cameos by a civilian-clad Matt Murdock, personal friend and former Army Lieutenant Carol Danvers, and bodyguard Luke Cage as the love interest, and I think you have a winning formula here.There's no need to make the series about the powers they have, just bring them out every now and then, when the situation demands it for greater impact. Also, considering that Jessica is not very good at flying, it saves the producers of having to shell out for the big expensive computer graphics.
2 - American Virgin
This oft-forgotten Vertigo title by Steven T. Seagle and Becky Cloonan made the list on the strength of what the “pilot” episode would be. The first issue introduces us to Adam Chamberlain, a popular youth pastor who encourages his peers to avoid casual sex, wait until marriage, etc. He is engaged to an equally religious girl, Cassie, who is currently taking part in a missionary (no pun intended) mission in Africa. Adam’s whole world is turned upside down when he learns that the girl he professed his undying love, the girl that he sword he would wait until he was married to have sex with, died in Africa at the hands of a group of terrorists, beheaded in front of a camera and the video of her death broadcast for all to see. What follows is a journey to Africa for revenge and closure, though it leads to a further trip of self discovery for Adam, who now questions everything he believed in. The trip to Africa extends into a world trotting trip in a journey of sexual discovery, that leads to several scenes that Adam's religious parents would probably strongly disapprove. Just to prove that this comic series has the pedigree of a TV series, the second year turns really weird, and it is nowhere as good as the first year.
3 - Proof
If there are two things that people love in their serial TV programs it’s: police drama shows, and paranormal shows. Mix those two things and you get... The X-Files. Of course, that show ran it’s course years ago, and new blood could be injected into this cluster of genres by making an adaptation Proof, the comic by Alex Grecian and Riley Rossmo. Proof stars Bigfoot, who goes by the name of John Prufrock, as he investigates crime scenes that are possibly related to cryptids (paranormal creatures such as the Chupacabras, Golems, and so on). Put the show from the perspective of Ginger Brown, John’s new partner who is thrust into a world she never thought imagined, and play him as a mysterious and ambiguous character that gets little screen time in the early stages, and I think audiences would be easily hooked. The only downside of this idea is that a Proof TV series would probably eat it’s budget on special effects, especially when the lead character would probably have to go through hours of make up in every filming, and CGI for the creatures.
4 - 100 Bullets
Somewhere in Hollywood, there is a movie exec that is frustratingly scratching his head trying to figure out how to adapt 100 Bullets into a movie. And the truth is you can’t. One hundred issues worth of complicated and deep story cannot possibly be crammed into three hours of movie, but they can be accommodated into a long-form story in various seasons worth of TV shows. And with the popularity of shows like The Sopranos, I think TV audiences can deal with protagonists that are, at their most base levels, unlikeable. The format that the comic series was scripted in also lends to various type of stories, from short done in ones “attache” stories, to long, season ending conflict among the families. Add in the short flashes of centuries-long conspiracies, secret organizations, and a huge and well-developed cast, this comic by Brian Azzarelo and Eduardo Risso would probably make for a perfect TV series.
5 - The Stuff of Legend
No one said that they had to be live action series, right? Well, The Stuff of Legend would make an awesome Saturday morning animated series (because, let’s be honest, no one would want to adapt a TV series that required a bear for all of its episodes). In case you don’t know, The Stuff of Legend is a tale about a group of toys (hello, merchandising division!) that venture into the darkness to save the boy that owns them and fight against the evil Boogeyman. The simplicity of the plot description I just gave you betrays this series, that is filled to the brim with memorable and iconic characters. Any similarities between it and other franchises (like Toy Story), would be forgotten once the toys embark into their fantasy-like quest, a journey that is harrowing and that will test what they are made out of unlike anything else.
I think that television fans are ready for longform stories and that is what comics often do best. So an adaptive, or based on, television show for a comic property offers up plenty of opportunities to please a variety of audiences. I hope that with Marvel firing up their own television studio they’ll look at the possibility of going live action as well as cartoon and that more properties get the chance to be adapted because television really does make more sense than a movie to try and cram so much story in. What titles would you like to see made into a show?