] type='image/vnd.microsoft.icon'/>

Monday, August 08, 2011

A Modest Proposal: DCTV

sgLike most Batman: Brave and the Bold and Young Justice fans, I am more than a little frustrated by Cartoon Network's schedule for airing (or, in many cases, not airing) new episodes of both shows.

In the case of the former, I had to go onto iTunes to buy the episodes of B:BATB I hadn't seen, which was hardly difficult but certainly not good for the show; how many people, used to seeing the show for free, are going to pony up $1.99 or whatever for the chance to see episodes?

So while leaving a comment on the blog of comics legend (and frequent B:BATB writer) J.M. DeMatteis, I came up with an idea on the fly: DCTV!

DCTV would be an entire channel devoted to running nothing but movies, TV shows, cartoons, and the like starring DC characters. Just imagine! an entire channel that could run movies like Batman: The Movie, the four Batman films of the 90s, the five (to date) Superman films, Supergirl, Swamp Thing, Green Lantern, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, Jonah Hex, and Catwoman (okay, maybe not Catwoman). Due to their length, they would be DCTV's main block of programming at night, taking up the 8-10 or in most cases 8-11pm time slot.

Later at night, the movies could be skewed for older, more mature audiences--V for Vendetta, Constantine, The Losers, A History of Violence, Road to Perdition, and Watchmen.

To fill one-hour slots, you'd have hundreds of hours of DC character-based TV shows to run: Batman, The Adventures of Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Birds of Prey, Superboy, Swamp Thing, Human Target, Lois & Clark, and of course Smallville.
Saturday mornings, of course, could be a virtual wonderland of classic animated shows; DC has particularly excelled at being involved with superb animated versions of their characters: Batman The Animated Series, Superman The Animated Series, Justice League Unlimited, all the various seasons of the Super Friends, Teen Titans Go!, the aforementioned Batman: Brave and the Bold and Young Justice, not to mention the 1960s Filmation shows (Superman, Batman, Aquaman), the 1970s Batman show, Plastic Man, and the 1980s Superman series.
Saturday and Sunday afternoons could be a combo of retro and new stuff: the Isis and Shazam! live action series plus the 1940s movie serials starring Superman (two of those), Batman (ditto), Blackhawk, Congo Bill, The Vigilante, and my personal favorite, The Adventures of Captain Marvel!
This would also be a great place to use all the new direct-to-DVD features that have been made in the last decade, like All-Star Superman, DC: The New Frontier, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern: Emerald Knights.
Every other Friday could the cheeky "Failed Pilot Friday", where they could run the shows that never made it: Batgirl, the recent Wonder Woman, The Adventures of Superpup (yes, that's a real show), Justice League of America, and (of course) Aquaman. This would be a perfect place to help ameliorate some of the costs of producing these "failed" shows. With something like Wonder Woman, there's no earthly reason why a show with such a built-in audience can't make a little back on the initial investment.

And with a full cable channel at their disposal, Warner Bros. could produce TV movies (live action and/or animated) starring some of their characters from their "back bench"--characters that are probably too niche to risk spending Green Lantern-size money on.

This is where you could really get creative: an edgy director or writer who wants to make an Ultra The Multi Alien movie? Done! Somebody with a crazy, out-of-the-box idea for The Atom? Done! Disney wants to squeeze some more money out of the still-standing Pirates of the Caribbean sets? WB could rent them for their upcoming Captain Fear TV movie! WB Animation wants to do a classic Tex Avery-ish version of Plastic Man? Set those Korean animators to work!

This, of course, could be a Doc Magnus-esque laboratory for what kinds of characters might just work as blockbuster franchises: if ratings are huge for, say, a Dr. Fate TV film, then the WB and DC would have that a base to determine whether it could be expanded into a Summer blockbuster. Right now, its all just guess work, with hundreds of millions on the line. If Dr. Fate proves he can be a movie star, then in a few years we could have Guillermo Del Toro's Dr. Fate (with Ron Perlman as Wotan).

I realize, of course, that rights issues complicate all this--DC/WB doesn't necessarily own the rights to all this stuff (in fact, no one owns the rights to the Max Fleisher Superman cartoons of the 40s), but I always believe that if enough money is there to be made, rights issues can always be worked out.

If Marvel Comics can have Marvel Studios, DC can have DCTV.


Jamdin said...

I have been dreaming of a DC Comics TV channel for years so I love this post.

Tempest127 said...

Great article and I heartily agree. It's a pity that Warner Bros has never taken a serious look at the value of these wonderful icons and all the entertainment they have provided for generations, both of the live-action and animated variety.

Btw, WB insists that they own the rights to the Max Fleischer "Superman" series because they bought the original prints from MPTV in 1969. Lesser quality prints have floated around in the public domain for years since then. (I have at least three different repackaged versions of the series released by varying DVD companies). It would be great to see a spiffy, high-quality anniversary edition of this fantastic series.

Jakethy said...

Yeah, great post. Now that you've so thoroughly planted this seed, I'm not sure I'll ever be completely happy until DCTV is a reality.

Orin's dad said...


Wings1295 said...

Great idea! And with the proliferation of spin-off cable channels for major networks and cable channels, this could be a niche channel that works for a huge fanbase!

Shawn said...

I still believe that 'Sugar And Spike' would be a fantastic animated show of the younger set. I've been reading their digest collections and they not only are great stories - but a great framework for an animated show.


Earth 2 Chris said...

I'm another dreamer who has thought of this for years, but it's nice to see it out there on the interweb!

As for shows they don't own the rights to, Disney Channel shows non-Disney movies quite often, so it can happen.

And there are really nice versions of the Fleishcer toons on the Superman DVD box set from a few years back.


Shellhead said...

Well, they are taking a small step in that direction. Cartoon Network will have a half hour show this fall called "DC presents" (or something along those lines) which is supposedly all DC, all the time. Whether it's a news/variety show, a series of cartoons, or combination of the two isn't known yet. But in a few months all will be revealed.
I always thought there should be a "Superhero" channel where all the cool/kooky/and just plain bad Marvel/DC movies, shows, and cartoons could be showcased. I'd watch that.

Neal P said...

I think that is an excellent idea, which of course means that WB won't touch it with a ten foot pole. They have been woefully shortsighted in how they've handled the DC properties. I could also imagine a channel like this devolving into a mess like Syfy. After five years, all the DC material would be out and reruns of the Kardashians and Jersey Shore would take its place.

Gon said...

Great idea!

They could also show Shaquille O'Neal's Steel... or not.

Joseph Brian Scott said...

I like the way you dream, rob! This is such a wonderful, natural, logical, obvious idea, that I bet it never happens. I can also envision the SyFy Syndrome happening, as Neal P. mentions above, but that's not all that disheartening; the SyFy channel still has some programming I tune in for, and nobody seems to get tired of the annual Twilight Zone marathons. The Boomerang Channel is still holding on after 10 years, even though of course they have deeper and broader archived resources to draw upon.

JasonMotesBowles said...

This is an EXCELLENT idea! I'd love it! Or if they couldn't do a JUST DC channel, what about a channel devoted to all things comic? That would include Marvel's stuff as well as other properties.

Jared M said...

A noble idea. Unfortunately execs over at Warner do not see DC Entertainment as a profitable venture of any kind. It's just like that side business that they keep just for fun but they don't really care about how it does or how to help it make more money. WB doesn't care about their DC property. Just look at all the horrible movies they've done over the years. And even so, compared to Marvel, those movies have been only a few. This is something that will NEVER happen unless WB starts taking DC seriously... which is something that will NEVER happen in and of itself.

On a separate note, though, Um, ROB! you BOUGHT the episode?! Not to encourage piracy or anything, but you do know U can get the latest episodes just by going on Filestube---for FREE? And before you say anything, NO, this doesn't affect CNs bottom line because they will still air the show and will still get money from ads :)

Russell said...

I think this is a great idea, too. I don't watch a whole lot of TV, but if I had this I would...atleast at the start. :-) Think of how all these properties would be "new" to a whole generation of fans...! The mind boggles.

Can we start a write-in campaign?

Anonymous said...

There will be a dc nation block on cartoon network online and offline.

The Flying Dachshund said...

Sorry you paid $1.99 for the episodes... Brave and the Bold as well as Young Justice are both holding off on new episodes for the new DC Nation block on CN... Not sure if it's late fall that it's debuting or not, but that's why they suddenly pulled all of the episodes from airing...