So last week I tackled the movies that were in whatever state, and this week I’m here to round up whatever tv shows I can find information about.
Again, there is no reason to assume we’ll ever be released from the hell in which we currently reside, but it’s fun to pretend, so let’s just go ahead and make-believe that all of this is definitely going to happen!
Justice League Dark
WHAT IT IS: The comic is a sort of cosmic-horror-themed take on the justice league, featuring John Constantine, Zatanna, and several superheroes I don’t know as much about. JJ Abrams is producing it for the new HBO Max service.
WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: Well, it could be visually interesting, given the comic, and the HBO Max setting could mean that it isn’t as constrained as it would otherwise be. Plus, JJ Abrams shows start strong, so there might be a couple of good seasons.
BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: It’s stupid. And the other time they tried to bring Constantine to televisions it was stupid. And also JJ Abrams shows inevitably fly apart.
WHAT IT IS: A show about a girl who finds a magic staff thing and becomes mega-powerful. It takes place in Georgia. That’s fun.
WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: DC stuff has a much better track record on television, so if it’s more like the CW shows than the movies it might be fine.
BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: I don’t actually know much about DC Universe, where this is meant to be released, so I don’t know much about its production history or aesthetic or whatever. But since I have no strong feelings about any of it one way or the other, I have no real reason to waffle, particularly.
WHAT IT IS: Crunchyroll is developing Warren Ellis’s erstwhile webcomic into an anime series
WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: It was a pretty wild webcomic, and it would probably translate pretty well into animation.
BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: I dunno, it’s probably going to be fine. I don’t watch a tonne of anime, and I don’t have Crunchyroll, so I’m unlikely to see much of it, but that doesn’t really matter in terms of how good it will be.
WHAT IT IS: The post-Endgame adventures of Vision and Scarlet Witch
WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: Well, it’s been marketed as a comedy, which could be fun. They’ve cast Kathryn Hahn as the “nosy neighbor,” which is pretty good. Also Kat Dennings is playing her character from the Thor movies, which ties it more closely in with those, which is probably a good idea
BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: Does Paul Bettany do comedy? Also, it probably won’t have anything to do with Tom King’s incredible, character-redefining run on the book, which isn’t itself a liability, but is a little bit disappointing. It’ll probably be fine.
WHAT IT IS: Hoo boy. This is a series based on Hellstorm, who was another grimdark nineties character. He’s the son of Satan . Sigh.
WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: Well, it could have a worthwhile visual identity I guess. God knows Lucifer turned out better than it should have.
BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: It was developed for Hulu outside of the Disney stable, so it’s a bit more of a wild card than some of the other Marvel stuff. That and the book, you know, sucks real bad.
Spidey and His Amazing Friends
WHAT IT IS: It’s about Spider-Man, here acting in concert with his friends. I’m told they’re amazing. This is actually very close to the title of one of the craziest Marvel related properties, the early-eighties Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, which birthed Firestar into the world . This is meant to be a show explicitly for kids, and is airing on Disney Junior, where animated Marvel shows tend to reside.
WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: Because Spider-Man is having a real moment, and it’s been going on for some time. Also: Spider-Man is awesome.
BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: I mean, the Spider-Bubble could pop, I suppose. Also, it’s a kid-focused show, so that adds some uncertainty, but I’m sure it’ll be fine. Everything is fine.
WHAT IT IS: Loki’s adventures in time travel with his handy dandy tesseract.
WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: Leaving aside that everyone loves Tom Hiddleston, and putting more of him in the world can only be a good thing, I’m going to go out on a prognosticatorial limb and say that this is probably instrumental to setting the world on the right track to Phase 4 after all the timey-wimey shenanigans in the last couple of Avengers movies. Whatever “the right track” might be. But even if not, Tom Hiddleston’s Loki is a damn delight, and I’ll happily watch whatever it turns out to be.
BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: We don’t really know much about how these Disney+ miniseries are going to work, so it could all be really bad. Plus, it’s a miniseries that contributes to continuity, and that makes it feel a little bit like homework.
WHAT IT IS:An animated series based on the wacky comic series of the same name, which asks lore-based questions like “What if the Punisher had killed Spider-Man” or “What if Wolverine was a Vampire?” . More recently it has sort of mutated (sorry) into mini-runs based around major plotlines (generally whatever the huge crossover event that is happening that year).
WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: It could be a lot of fun – the book usually was – and in examining the way things go differently could be an interesting look at the way these stories are told (as the book was at its best, although not nearly as often)
BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: The book could get pretty history-dense, and required a firm working knowledge of how the original stories went to really get everything out of. That seems like it would hamper a cartoon somewhat, but it probably won’t be an issue.
Y the Last Man
WHAT IT IS: Yorrick and his monkey are the only males that survive the death of every other male animal on Earth. It is not actually a superhero show! But I’m including it anyway because it’s rather superhero-adjacent. I mean, Hellstorm isn’t a superhero either, so I’m obviously playing pretty slippery with the rules.
WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: it’s a very good comic with a beginning, middle and, most importantly, an end. Since most genre shows have a real “no end in sight” problem, this might actually reduce the amount of dumb wheel-spinning.
BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: It could ignore the end, I suppose, but this kind of comic (the action-oriented science-fiction comic that reads like a superhero book without a superhero in it) tends to do pretty well on television, so I don’t worry about it too much.
WHAT IT IS: More Green Lantern, this time from the Arrowverse guy (Greg Berlanti), and for HBO Max
WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: Greg Berlanti (the Arrowverse guy) has a good track record for getting DC shows to work on tv. And people do still love Green Lantern.
BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: the usual “we don’t know how this is going to work because it’s the first thing like it on its platform” questions are here, although HBO in its non-Max form had some good luck with Watchmen. I’m sure it’ll be fine.
WHAT IT IS: She-Hulk was the Hulk’s cousin who received a bit o’ Hulk when she also received a blood transfusion. She’s a lawyer, and unlike Bruce Banner, she’s always in full control, and exists permanently in the human-hulk hybrid that Hulk currently exists as in the MCU
WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: Especially under John Byrne, She-Hulk is fucking awesome. I don’t know much about this series, but if it takes its cues from Byrne, then I’ll be very excited.
BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: Nope. She-Hulk is fucking awesome. Bring it on.
WHAT IT IS: At its best, Moon Knight was like a semi-parody of Batman. At its worst (in the nineties), Moon Knight was Marvel Batman.
WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: Because when it’s been funny (which is recently), it’s been very good, and, again, I’m here for basically any funny superhero stuff.
BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: Moon Knight has been a lot of things, and the writing has gone to a lot of places, and some of them are bad.
WHAT IT IS: New Jersey’s finest, Ms. Marvel is a terrific character with visually-interesting stretchy-powers.
WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: G. Willow Wilson recently ended a run on Ms. Marvel that was, and I’m not exaggerating here, one of the absolute-best runs on any superhero comic ever, so if the show takes anything from that, it would be worthwhile
BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: eh. If it’s Kamala Khan (and it is), then it’ll probably be pretty good. Not much to waffle about with this little information happening.
WHAT IT IS: It’s hard to say. It’s probably the story of Jeremy Renner’s Clint Barton passing the torch to a younger, lady-type Hawkeye, which also happened in the comics not that long ago.
WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: I suppose it could finally do well with a character that the MCU didn’t have many ideas for, it’s not like it’s impossible. For all that Jeremy Renner is an….interesting public figure, he’s a pretty good actor, and could do well here.
BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: Leaving aside that at his very best, Hawkeye is kind of a dumb character , there’s also the fact that he’s been in the MCU for a decade and hasn’t picked up any traction on his own.
WHAT IT IS: The Mobile Organism Designed Only for Killing, this was another show that was set to be a part of the Hulu-wing of the MCU, and may still be, who knows? But it’s a cartoon, and it’s supposed to be funny.
WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: The voice cast is bonkers-great: Patton Oswalt as MODOK, Ben Schwartz and Melissa Fumero as his kids, Jon Daly and Sam Richardson as his henchmen, Beck Bennet as his boss, Wendi McClendon-Covey as his work rival. For that alone, I feel like some excitement is warranted.
BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: As previously mentioned, we don’t know much about the development and/or deployment of the Hulu shows, so it could be just about anything. And stacked voice casts haven’t always yielded great results.
WHAT IT IS: Kurt Busiek’s masterpiece, this is a set of completely-original characters that sort of provides a mirror to DC comics , and is an incredible piece of superhero storytelling.
WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: Honestly, it might be fine. It could take a tone like the CW series, or even the Rogen/Goldberg stuff, and it’d probably be good, although the latter might be too dark. The real excitement here would be if the release of this series touched off a set of easily-available, comprehensive reprintings of a book that spanned several publishers and different starts and stops. That would be much cooler than any tv show could be, because reading them all in their current state is difficult.
BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: It’s a tough one, tonally. It does a lot with the superhero story, but a lot of what it does isn’t really conducive to television storytelling, so it could be easy to fail to capture the magic, and make something that just looks like other tv shows with the serial numbers filed off. That’s why I’m more hopeful about the tv show tie-in reprints that don’t yet exist but should.
WHAT IT IS: A surprisingly-accurately-titled piece of Mark Millar weirdness, about Jesus having to come to America to battle the Antichrist.
WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: Millar’s comics work is pretty niche-oriented: he seems to be a pretty all-or-nothing proposition, but it’s usually (Kick-Ass, the Kingsmen movies, and, in its roundabout way, Old Man Logan) been adapted pretty well.
BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: The book isn’t as good as its log line, and all of those aforementioned successful adaptations are movies, not tv shows.
WHAT IT IS: The story of a travel writer who gets stuck in an alien body that’s made of something that is like, but not actually, concrete.
WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: Concrete is one of my favorite comics ever. It’s an adventure story that isn’t weird and problematic, which is very nice, and it deals with some big, emotionally-moving questions, without losing its sense of fun or adventure. This is another one where I sort of hope that the making of the tv show causes another widespread reissue (the last one was the Dark Horse collections over a decade ago, as far as I’m aware)
BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: The things that make it so amazing are how grounded it really is – there are major plot lines about local politics, and once he makes a movie, but like, as part of the crew, to name two examples – which means that it rarely has anything big or attention-grabbing going on beyond the initial visual effectiveness. Also the book deals pretty frankly with the sexual needs of a dude without a human body or, in fact, any discernible genitalia (although all that also comes into play), which I can’t imagine being handled well by a television production team. So it’s all waffles, but man, is it a great book.
WHAT IT IS: An animated-for-adults adaptation of the best long-running Robert Kirkman comic.
WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: Invincible is great, crowd-pleasing and should be pretty easy to adapt well. It has a very impressive voice cast, including Walking Dead MVP Steven Yeung, and general MVP of Earth Mark Hamil. No reason not to be pretty excited about this one.
BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: Nope. I’m excited. Hope it goes as long as The Walking Dead. Hell, twice as long.
WHAT IT IS: It started out a DC-universe parody of nineties grimdark hyperviolence, then forgot that it was a parody and was just left with being grimdark hyperviolence.
WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: If it’s a parody, it might work, given that we’ve recently moved through yet another hyperviolent grimdark period, especially in DC-based visual entertainment.
BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: It was never that good of a parody, and it’s not liable to actually be one if it actually happens.
WHAT IT IS: Jeff Smith’s (see below) story of a time-travelling art thief.
WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: RASL is very cool, and has a very exciting, twisty plot that could very easily lend itself to the kind of expansion that television series often necessitate.
BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: Tesla-worship is a problem, and he figures heavily in the backstory.
WHAT IT IS: Jeff Smith’s masterpiece, and another of the very greatest comics ever written. It’s not really a superhero thing, but I’m including it here because there’s plenty of super stuff and plenty of hero stuff, and also because it’s the damn best.
WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: I’m telling you, it’s the best.
BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: Primarily because it’s been in one form of development or another for a million years, and that makes it seem significantly unlikely to actually happen. But if it does happen, it’ll be awesome, because Jeff Smith retained the rights and has approval over the thing, and has been very careful about who gets to adapt it.
WHAT IT IS: Stan Sakai’s story of a samurai rabbit. It’s also not a superhero comic, but falls into the same general category as Bone (or, for that matter, Concrete)
WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: Usagi is another nigh-perfect comic, that took funny animals and pasted it directly over samurai stories, which is visually great, to say the very least. It was funny, action-packed and deeply moving in ways that would survive just about any transfer to another medium.
BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: I’m guessing that it’s as robust as it is because of the combination of all the elements in their exact proportions, and if any of that gets messed with, it may lose some of its charm.
WHAT IT IS: A pornographic nineties-exxxtreme comic about a magic sword and heaving bosoms.
WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: Well, if you’re the sort of person for whom heaving bosoms and magic swords sounds like a selling point, then you might be in luck.
BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: It’s being produced by NBC for god-knows-what platform, so the bosoms are liable to be broadcast-level. While I’m not interested in this property no matter what, and am certainly not decrying there not being a vaguely-pornographic boobs-n-swords show in the world, I also think that the boobs part is pretty hamstrung by the developer, which means it’s going to have to rely mainly on its plot, which is awful.
WHAT IT IS: It’s a television adaptation of the grand dame of non-superhero comics, although again, I’m putting it here because there’s lots of super and lots of hero.
WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: Sandman is a highly-visual property that’s very close to a lot of people’s hearts, so one can imagine that there is likely to be every single pain taken to make sure that this works out to the liking of the fans, at least in the beginning. One of the things about the high-value prestige adaptation that’s been interesting to watch unfold is that they generally start out well – few people had complaints about the first couple of seasons of GoT, for example, same with The Walking Dead – and then drift to being pretty bad once they’ve taken on their own momentum outside of the property thus adapted. So the beginning should be fine.
BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: The storytelling is inside-out and counter-intuitive, even though it’s extremely effective. Plus, it won’t be the beginning of it forever, so it’ll probably eventually devolve. While it does have an overarching story, a lot of the world and stuff is filled out in digressive side-stories, and that might not survive the process either. Lastly, I’m burying the part of my waffles that’s a spoiler in this footnote, don’t read it if you don’t already know how it ends/don’t care if you know how it ends
WHAT IT IS: Frank Miller’s last non-brainworms work, and also the last one glued on at the end here in the “not actually superhero stuff” category.
WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: 50% of the film adaptations that came from Sin City were awesome, so the odds aren’t terrible.
BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: I’m pretty sure Robert Rodriguez made a movie out of all the adaptable stuff in the series in the first place, so it’s pretty well doomed.