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Eric Jansen
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Posted: 06 December 2017 at 12:15am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

I try not to second-guess TV or movie creators in the changes they feel they have to make to make a comic book creation work for the big (or little) screen but, with BLACK LIGHTNING coming, I really have to wonder a few things--

1. Greg Berlanti will now have SEVEN TV shows on the air--and none of them are that great!  ARROW, FLASH, LEGENDS OF TOMORROW, SUPERGIRL, RIVERDALE, and now BLACK LIGHTNING--all based on comic books, plus BLINDSPOT, which sort of takes the WONDER WOMAN dynamic (brunette "super" woman stopping bad guys and watching out for a "Steve Trevor" type) and puts it in the real world.  Most of these are at the bottom of the ratings--why does he still have carte blanche to make whatever changes he wants to the characters?  I mean, if his shows were in the top 20 or even 30, I could understand it, but ARROW and THE FLASH are sometimes down at 100 in the ratings!

2. Why are we making all the super-heroes old now (or old-ish)?  Why are we starting BLACK LIGHTNING as a retired, middle-aged father of two?  I know that's what they eventually did with him in the comics, but that doesn't make it great.  I would have much preferred the original concept of a young teacher who got out of a bad neighborhood but now returned to save it.  And SuperGIRL started as a 20-something woman--why?  Even the RIVERDALE gang are acting more mature, sleeping with each other, etc.  In the movies, they've established BATMAN as being 45-50, WONDER WOMAN is over 100, and SUPERMAN didn't start until he was (they said) 33--would the "real" Superman have avoided helping people for, say, 20 years (since he hit puberty)?  It just seems strange to go this way--I thought "youth was king."

A decade or two ago, it was annoying that TV and filmmakers kept making characters YOUNGER than they needed to be, now we seem to have gone to the other extreme!

I would have preferred to see SUPERGIRL and FIRESTORM still in high school.  ARCHIE clones like HAPPY DAYS and SAVED BY THE BELL were super-popular at the time, why go dark and adult with RIVERDALE?  Christopher Nolan aged BATMAN because his third movie was supposed to be the end of his story--why keep him aged in their new cinematic universe?

What is the thinking here?
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 06 December 2017 at 1:13am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

I mean, if his shows were in the top 20 or even 30, I could understand it, but ARROW and THE FLASH are sometimes down at 100 in the ratings!

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Anything airing on The CW is never going to be in the top 20 or 30. They don’t have the number of affiliates that the Big Four have. The CW is also leaning more on digital than the other networks are. What matters is how well the shows were doing on the network, and in their first few seasons, both ARROW and THE FLASH were the #1 shows on The CW. 
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 06 December 2017 at 1:20am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

And SuperGIRL started as a 20-something woman--why?  

——

Because people age in real-life. Twenty-something allows you to maintain a status quo. See SMALLVILLE and BUFFY where the shows became a bit off after the cast aged out of the original high school setting.
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Brian O'Neill
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Posted: 06 December 2017 at 10:57am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Also, 'high school' characters are almost always played by twentysomethings, anyway, so it's best to avoid that(let's see how far RIVERDALE goes before hitting SMALLVILLE territory).
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Mike Benson
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Posted: 06 December 2017 at 7:22pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Seems like you're watching them? 
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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 06 December 2017 at 8:24pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

What Michael said about The CW is true. But I never use rankings as a barometer for how good a show is, to begin with.

Especially when ABC has a habit of not promoting shows enough then axing them rather than realizing it's the network's fault. (There was one ABC show a few years ago that I never even heard of until the week before it was cancelled) And for a while, FOX had a habit of yanking shows without giving them a real chance.

But SUPERGIRL and THE FLASH are two of the best shows on tv right now, and I'd have said the same about ARROW until a couple of seasons ago. LEGENDS has it's moments. I dropped BLINDSPOT after the first season because they gave away too much too quickly. And I wouldn't watch RIVERDALE without being paid to do so.

If Supergirl was a teenager in high school, the show would have had a very different audience, and probably wouldn't have garnered enough viewers for The CW to have bothered picking it up after CBS declined to renew it. I know I probably wouldn't have watched much more than the pilot had they made Kara a high school student. (My only problem with the show has been the Alex-Maggie relationship; the actresses have almost no chemistry together.)

Personally, I think making Black Lightning a middle-aged hero coming out of retirement, rather than starting off with him as a brand new hero, is an interesting twist. I just wonder which Earth he's going to be on....




Edited by Brian Floyd on 06 December 2017 at 8:26pm
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Doug Jones
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Posted: 07 December 2017 at 1:42am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Don't forget the impending TITANS on DC All-Access, also a Berlanti production.
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Matt Reed
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Posted: 07 December 2017 at 4:18am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Berlanti has ten series on television.  His work is nearly unprecedented in all of television.

As to this...

 Eric Jansen wrote:
I mean, if his shows were in the top 20 or even 30, I could understand it, but ARROW and THE FLASH are sometimes down at 100 in the ratings!

...you're not understanding how the CW model works.  Every single show is owned by either CBS or Warner Brothers. They create everything. Air it. Get it to syndication/streaming. And then it pays for itself. It's an incubator for new media.  RIVERDALE was a so-so series even for the low expectation CW but after it went live on Netflix?  It's a huge hit that normal television ratings won't reflect.  

Here's another for you: THE BLACK LIST has been steadily decreasing in viewership for six seasons.  It's not a hit.  It honestly should be canceled at this point.  But NBC has an exclusive deal in place with Netflix where the latter pays $2 million per episode for it to air on their service.  At 24 episodes a season, that's $48 million.  The series doesn't cost that much to make, so they're raking in the cash.  Why not devote an hour a week to reap so much cash?

It's a different world out there, Eric.  Don't just look at the ratings.
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John Byrne

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Posted: 07 December 2017 at 9:59am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Here's another for you: THE BLACK LIST has been steadily decreasing in viewership for six seasons. It's not a hit. It honestly should be canceled at this point. But NBC has an exclusive deal in place with Netflix where the latter pays $2 million per episode for it to air on their service. At 24 episodes a season, that's $48 million. The series doesn't cost that much to make, so they're raking in the cash. Why not devote an hour a week to reap so much cash?

•••

OMG!! TV has found its own version of Direct-Only comics!

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Steve De Young
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Posted: 07 December 2017 at 2:23pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Here's another for you: THE BLACK LIST has been steadily decreasing in viewership for six seasons. It's not a hit. It honestly should be canceled at this point. But NBC has an exclusive deal in place with Netflix where the latter pays $2 million per episode for it to air on their service. At 24 episodes a season, that's $48 million. The series doesn't cost that much to make, so they're raking in the cash. Why not devote an hour a week to reap so much cash?
---------------------------------------------------
This is why Star Trek Discovery isn't going away any time soon.  CBS' deal with Netflix for exclusive rights to the show outside the U.S. pays the entire production cost of the show.  So anything they make on it in the U.S., merchandising, etc. etc. is basically pure profit.

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Eric Jansen
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Posted: 08 December 2017 at 8:15am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Matt Reed, all of that may be true, but wouldn't it still be even better if these shows were higher in the ratings too?  A few more millions of dollars in ad revenue and THEN the streaming windfall!

Or does it just come down to the fact that Berlanti can crank them out?

And as for the high school thing, millions of people grew up on things like SAVED BY THE BELL--you couldn't escape it in syndication--and Disney has a whole network based on similar shows.  SMALLVILLE was a hit for ten years, though most people I know preferred the high school years.  I'm not convinced that a high school-based SUPERGIRL wouldn't be more of a hit than the one that CBS cancelled after one season.

And if 20-somethings are all the mandatory rage, that doesn't explain making BLACK LIGHTNING or the movie BATMAN middle-aged retirees.


Edited by Eric Jansen on 08 December 2017 at 8:17am
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Eric Jansen
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Posted: 08 December 2017 at 1:25pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Now, I'm not saying I hate all these shows--I'm watching most of them!  THE FLASH is the best and I'm ecstatic to see Ralph Dibny alive and well!  My question was--why does Greg Berlanti (and, for that matter, Zack Snyder in the movies) have carte blanche to do whatever he wants?

Did DC have any say in the matter when it was decided that Black Lightning would be starting already retired?  Or that the movie Batman would be 48 (or whatever) years old?  That's such a valuable property for them and, since they were breaking with the Christopher Nolan movies anyhow, why not start him up again (maybe 3 or 4 years into his career)?

Some choices just seem dumb and arbitrary.  Marvel, on the other hand, seems to be taking a much more thoughtful approach to their movies and TV shows.  Though, over there, we do have the example of casting 70-something Michael Douglas as Hank Pym...but even that seems thought out since they had Paul Rudd as Scott Lang and they seem to have wanted to flesh out their hero history between the 40's and the modern age.


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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 08 December 2017 at 1:39pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

My question was--why does Greg Berlanti (and, for that matter, Zack Snyder in the movies) have carte blanche to do whatever he wants?

----

On what basis are you making this assumption?
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Christopher Frost
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Posted: 08 December 2017 at 9:47pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply

I can't speak for Berlanti and his choices but with regards to the older Batman in BvS and Justice League, that was a deliberate choice on their part as the original plan for BvS, before they decided to try and turn it into the DCEU Launchpad, was to do a riff on the Dark Knight Returns for which they needed an older Batman.

Also, Berlanti doesn't have carte blanche when it comes to what he's doing with the shows. He spent early seasons of Arrow setting up the Suicide Squad only to be told by WB to back off of it so that it didn't interfere with the movie they were developing. That's why Waller was killed off and Slade & Deadshot basically vanished from the show for a while. He does have a lot of leeway these days but that's because he's running a lot of the CWs most popular shows, which would grant anyone in that position a little extra clout.
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Eric Jansen
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Posted: 09 December 2017 at 4:30am | IP Logged | 15 post reply

OK, when I say "carte blanche," I acknowledge that it probably isn't 100%.  And even when I say "Greg Berlanti," it could very well be the whole production team of him, Andrew Kreisberg (who's now out), and Marc Guggenheim (the latter two did some good comic book work I enjoyed).

And, sure, DC may have just decided that the shows are doing well enough and is taking a "hands off" approach, trusting Berlanti and co. to do the best they can reasonably expect.

It just seems that the shows (and movies) have more autonomy to change things than they should.
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 09 December 2017 at 10:56am | IP Logged | 16 post reply

And, sure, DC may have just decided that the shows are doing well enough and is taking a "hands off" approach, trusting Berlanti and co. to do the best they can reasonably expect.

----

Again, what leads you to that assumption?

Does this sound like a "hands off" DC?

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