So, big shock here, but... I'm a huge comic book geek. I know, I know, people who have followed this blog for a while are probably feeling a bit surprised at this revelation, but it's okay. We'll get through this. Anyway, being a comic geek means that, unsurprisingly, I know a thing or two about comic series, characters, so on, so forth. This means that, for the longest time, I've watched the Marvel Cinematic Universe adaptations and scratched my head, saying to myself, "really, you're adapting that?"
But with Phase Two winding down, coupled with the recent announcement that there's going to be a new Marvel series or season on Netflix every six months, I think it's time that Marvel Studios (read: Disney) got a little more bold with their choices in adaptations. Here are a few that would lend themselves very, very well to an episodic format.
Yes, I know Punisher will totally be showing up in the second season of Daredevil, and I'm very, very excited about that. Two of my favorite Marvel characters (three when you take Elektra into consideration) in one show? Sign me up, thank you very much. But I seriously hope that we don't see the last of Frank Castle in Hell's Kitchen, or even worse, that he becomes a character relegated to the sidelines. That would be a damn shame.
Why? Because, for one thing, he's an interesting and storied character, in all of his incarnations. He's either a shellshocked war veteran with a dead family or an ex-cop with a dead family, and he's got all sorts of pent-up anger from both. This leads to him being one of the most violent Marvel characters this side of Wolverine or Deadpool, and certainly the most morally ambiguous. Good? Bad? Sometimes neither, sometimes both, sometimes a little bit in-between. Point is, the murderous vigilante is a compelling protagonist for a lot of reasons, namely because of his morally grey world view, and he's definitely one of my personal favorite characters.
On top of that, his shtick lends itself well to an episodic format. Either he's chasing down different villains each episode, or he's taking down smaller enemies to get to one big one throughout the whole season. Maybe he's trying to get to Kingpin, since that's happened in the comics. I mean, hell, the whole thing could happen parallel to the first season of Daredevil, ending the series on when they first meet, however that ends up happening next year. The Punisher is a good character for a violent, gritty series about a lone warrior killing, torturing and blowing stuff up, and as we all know, that's the sort of entertainment that typically does super well.
Now, could the series be as excellent as the 2004 movie? That's a different question entirely...
She-Hulk is, hands down, my favorite Marvel character, and has been for years. Above Spider-Man, Punisher, Captain Marvel, Electra, Daredevil... as much as I love all those characters, Bruce Banner's sassy and badass lawyer cousin just takes the cake for me. She's a highly liberated woman, a strong and resilient fighter, and a brilliant lawyer, all rolled into a muscley green package. Plus, almost all of her series (let's pretend Ceremony never happened) are generally considered some of Marvel's finest output, including the recent 12-issue run by Charles Soule. What I'm trying to say here is that ol' Shulkie is one of Marvel's most acclaimed characters, and personally? I think she lends herself to a series.
Think about it. Courtroom dramas? People love that shit. The whole Law and Order franchise predates all of human civilization, I think, and there have been dozens upon dozens of imitators and riffs on the formula that do super well. And superhero series? I mean, there's a reason I'm writing this to begin with: superheroes are big business in Hollywood right now, and they will be for the foreseeable future, I think. So, what about crashing them into each other? A big green woman who throws cars, then throws down in court, then (in the comics) throws the fuck down in bed seems like a lucrative venture. We've got courtroom intrigue, superhero action, and superhero sex. I mean, it writes itself.
Not to mention that Angie Harmon of Law & Order fame has gone on record to state that she wants the role. Now, I don't necessarily agree how she said "she doesn't want to encourage slut-ism" (that's not even a word, Angie,) but she's read the comics, loves the character, gets what makes the series work, and, honestly, sort of looks the part, sans a few pounds of muscle. Add on the fact that she's fucking played a defense attorney for 72 episodes of one of the most popular TV shows of all time, and has literally made a career of starring roles on numerous TV shows, and you've got a prime candidate for this character.
So, Disney. You've got a premise. You've got an actress. You've got a good pedigree. Ball's in your court, guys, so...
Kamala Khan (Ms. Marvel)
I know a lot of Marvel fans think that Kamala Khan should be in the Marvel movies, and I get that. I do. It would be super cool to see a Muslim-American female lead on the silver screen, and honestly, if it happened, I wouldn't even be mad. That'd be awesome. But... I think she would work better on a TV series.
Hear me out for a second. Hers is a smaller, personal story, combining superhero antics with a heavy focus on her high school and home life. In many respects, the excellent Ms. Marvel series is just as much about Kamala herself and her everyday life as it is her coming to grips with her superpowers. And what better way to show this dichotomy than an episodic TV series? A movie, especially a superhero movie, generally works in a clearly defined, formulaic arc. We'd see Kamala's home life, then her powers would happen, then she'd be a superhero, and the home life would barely be a thing anymore, much like we saw with the Spider-Man films. Wouldn't it be a more faithful take on the franchise to have an equal focus on both aspects of her life? I think so.
Comedies about awkward teenage years generally do pretty well, and a lot of people can relate to them. Couple that with one of Marvel's most popular heroes at the moment, who would bring in some much-needed diversity to the MCU line-up, and you've got a solid contender for a good series. I'm thinking Freaks and Geeks, but with superheroes. It's not a bad idea, especially because Kamala Khan is a huge dorky nerd who writes fan fiction, ships superheroes, and probably browses an excessive amount of Tumblr, and would be pretty endearing to fellow dorky nerds. It could totally work.
Now, I enjoyed Nic Cage's marvelous and dynamic turn as the titular Ghost Rider in the beloved 2007 and 2011 classics just as much as everybody else. But, and hear me out guys... I think it's for the best that Marvel got the rights back to it.
All joking about two garbage-y movies aside, wouldn't a series themed around Ghost Rider be excellent? Imagine: a daredevil motorcyclist suddenly turned into the demonic flaming skull-thing anti-hero, driven away from a life of fame and cursed to forever roam the country, the highway his only companion. He'd run into major villains from the comics, of course, but mostly, it would be a set up much like The Pretender or (more appropriately) The Incredible Hulk: lone outcast man wanders into various towns and solved problems. It's a proven TV set-up that people love, and would be the best use of this character we've seen in a while.
They could also adapt the newer comics, which feature a young Hispanic street racer who has to take care of his little brother while also battling his literal inner demons. And, instead of a motorcycle, he drives a pretty sick muscle car. If Marvel is looking for a little more diversity, this would also be a pretty surefire (ha!) way to achieve it. Plus, that new comic is just really, really excellent, and deserves more exposure. It presents Ghost Rider in a much more interesting light than "brooding white man who is also on fire and a skull."
Food for thought.
Those are just four characters who would benefit from the Marvel/Netflix treatment. Agree? Disagree? Got any more suggestions? Sound off!