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Thursday, April 16, 2015

TBT: A Modest Proposal: DCTV

Like 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.

This post originally appeared on August 8, 2011.

Post Script: Of course, this piece was written almost four years ago, before there was Arrow, The Flash, and Supergirl. This whole idea doesn't seem as pie in the sky now, does it?


r duncan said...

Great idea, then. Better idea, now.

NealP said...

Great idea! That's why it'll never happen. Warner Bros. seems to have a deathly fear of great ideas.

BlUsKrEEm said...

I would definately subsribe to a DC Streaming service. It seems like everyone is coming uop with one now a days, why not DC?