Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Constantine, Flash, & Gotham...OH MY! By Brian J. Patterson

Comic Con Special by TV Guide Editors - Featuring Constantine

I have been attending San Diego Comic Con for approximately 15 years...I just needed to make that known right away, thank you. When I first started going to ‘the Con’ as we would call it, the convention center was barely 1/2 in use for this event. SDCC (San Diego Comic Con) did indeed grow as the years went on. How could it not with the comics and sci fi community as its supporters? We are known to be one of the most loyal fan bases ever. SuperHeroes are our idols and we run to worship at their alters. We tithe as much as we can to their causes, and are known to have: spent our last dollars, wait in lines overnight, and travel great distances to support their cause….on MULTIPLE occasions! It is not surprising that the Hollywood community would want to come and exploit..er, I meant to say take full advantage of that type of loyal fan base, by making films geared toward this audience. Frankly, it’s a win win situation. Because when you think about it:

a) Comic books are already storyboarded out for filmmakers. Yes, one of the most difficult parts of the work, which is conceptualizing so that you can get others on board for your project, has been completed for them. 


Three comparisons (L-Comics & R-TV Show Screen Shots) of The Strain

b) There’s a built  in audience, so your built in audience will definitely support your project monetarily.

c) With an already established built in audience, you are guaranteed to have someone to share and explain with the non-comic book readers/general audience. 

Comic Con Special by TV Guide Editors - Featuring Gotham

At any rate, you get the picture. Comic Con is a great venue for Hollywood to springboard comics related projects. This year’s San Diego Comic Con served as a springboard for three television shows which are were based on comic books. They are: NBC’s Constantine, the CW’s The Flash, & FOX’s Gotham. Here is a brief update on the three:

CONSTANTINE had it’s Premiere screening to audiences at the con, and I've already had the pleasure of watching it in the comfort of my own home about a month prior...*wink* With the success of Grimm, it comes to no surprise that NBC chose Constantine as their next comic book related project. It’s essentially the same idea - A man fighting to rid the world of scary monsters, and make it safe for all of us because he is the 'chosen one'. They even played it safe by choosing a project which supports the Christian faith in a way. But not too much to avoid the liberal criticism. Keeping this ‘safe play’ idea in mind, it is not surprising that NBC decided to omit the fact that our lead character is a VERY openly proud bisexual. I’m wondering if this will be revealed in future episodes to come, or will be avoided all together. I guess it all depends upon the success of the show.

NBC's promotional photo for Constantine

THE FLASH had it's almost premiere screening at SDCC 2014, Well, at least it was the OFFICIAL screening. Considering the pilot was leaked online months ago. I have said it before, and I’ll say it again…this pilot is the quintessential hero’s journey. One thing that impressed me was their casting choices. Per a UCLA diversity report approximately 90% of lead roles in big budget films are awarded to Caucasians. This is just an example of the stats which are mentioned in this report. Yet, all of them reflect the same sentiment. Hollywood is not a place to be a minority. The Flash pilot was not different to this. After doing the math, and looking over IMDB, the cast was still about 80% white. However, the CW has continued to display their evolutionary forward thinking by putting together a lead/supporting cast which was much more diverse. Specifically that of Candice Patton as Iris West and Jesse L. Martin as her father Detective Joe West. Two roles which are traditionally Caucasian. The CW is understanding something the end findings of the UCLA report: A more diverse cast does better in the box office. But not only that, they realize that sometimes it's ok to cast the best actor you think will do the best job, and not adhere to traditional ethnic choices, especially if the script doesn't deem it as necessary. Kudos to you, CW. This pilot and your casting choices were nothing short of phenomenal, and I can’t wait to see more from this show.

CW's promotional advertisement for The Flash

GOTHAM didn’t have a premiere screening at the con. However, it did have quite a noticeable presence - a really fun zip-line that you could ride just like Gotham’s Dark Knight. However, I must admit that my favorite Gotham treat was a lanyard I received from Entertainment Weekly with this photo emblazed upon it.

FOX's promo pic for Gotham

I don’t have much to go on for the show. But, I will say this; I’m VERY excited at the idea of telling the batman story from a fresh perspective. This is a genius idea and I hope more people take this approach to television and other mediums, specifically comics. There is so much story from so many other characters’ perspectives to tell in all mythologies. I just hope that FOX delivers.

To conclude, I am a television junkie. I love it and it is why I do what I do.  I have always believed that television is a fantastic medium to host live action versions of our beloved characters. The episodic story-boarded out book could translate brilliantly to the bube-tube. I applaud NBC, CW, & FOX for taking the initiative this year to tell some potentially compelling stories. I hope that they can deliver and see just as much success as CW's sexy tv show called Steven Amell, er...I mean, Arrow! 

Photo by Eric Goldman

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