Friday, April 8, 2011

WTFriday?! - A Little Peak Inside My Head

You ever just make stuff up in your mind... like really elaborate stuff just to entertain yourself like "If I was magic, I'd make this happen" kinda stuff? I guess it's comparable to people who write fan fiction or draw fan artwork. Like, it's not "real" or anything, but here's how I'd do it, if I could. Well... here's how I'd do it if I could.

I'm always bugged by the lack of female presence in the world of live-action super heroes. I'd love for Wonder Woman to succeed but I'm cautiously optimistic. I'm put-off by the fact that for whatever reason Black Widow is in the Avengers movie. I don't really care about the Black Widow and there are many other female Avengers that are more closely associated with the team, most notably The Wasp, a FOUNDER in the comics, who is just completely left out. There was a live-action Birds of Prey show years ago, but it wasn't very successful and only lasted one season. I don't recall much of it. I need to sit down and watch some of that boxed set I bought forever ago. At least on Smallville, Zatanna, Black Canary, Mera and Supergirl have been used. Oh yeah and Saturn Girl and Star Girl, too. As for live-action movies, I know it's a tough sell, but I don't agree with the mentality that because Catwoman and Elektra failed that female heroes can't carry movies. Those two bombed because they were freakin' terrible... AND you know what else bombed? Superman Returns, The Punisher (both of 'em), The Hulk (both of 'em), Ghost Rider, Daredevil... and still...

Also, and this is about animation, not live-action, but the Wonder Woman animated DVD sold "too slowly" for Warners to even consider making ANY additional animated movies starring female characters. They covered up the fact that Superman/Batman: Apokalipse was actually about Supergirl (with Wonder Woman, Artemis, Harbinger and Big Barda, thrown in). Wonder Woman outsold Green Lantern. BUT guess who has ANOTHER animated movie coming out in a couple of months... Green Lantern. Hypocrisy? Uh, yeah, pretty much.

So, though it'll never happen, I've often thought it would be interesting to do an hour-long action/drama about female super heroes. I'd approach it as more of a "work place drama" like all those cops shows and legal shows and medical shows, where you use the job, in this case super heroics, as the starting point and then you'd develop and get to know the characters over time. In a lot of fields, even today, women still struggle to get the same respect that males get. You see it a lot in law enforcement and what is super heroics if no law enforcement? And in a more literal interpretation, female super heroes DO struggle to gain the respect of not just fans, but creators and studio execs. Female characters struggle to sell books. I'd take that and use it more metaphorically on the show.
At various points, I have thought of doing the show with made-up characters, Marvel characters and right now I'm thinking DC. A couple years ago, DC did this poster entitled "The Real Power of the DC Universe" so my working title is "Real Power." I'm even including some of the characters from the poster.

The first character that I want to use on the show is Dr. Light (Kimiyo Hoshi), who has the power to fly and... well, create light-- lasers, photon beams, bursts of bright light, pretty much whatever you need. Dr. Light hasn't been utilized very much in the past. She's been in the Justice League off and on over the years. She has great, easily comprehended powers. She's a scientist, she's a divorcee, she's a single parent with two kids, her father is one of her colleagues... there's a lot you can do with all that. Lots of story potential, which for the most part, hasn't been tapped in the comics.

I had a cuckoo idea. In the comics, there was an earlier Dr. Light, a super villain (real name Arthur Light). Recently, he's been really scummed up. He raped Elongated Man's wife Sue basically making him too revolting for any creator to ever use again, so they... I think they turned him into a magic candle. But anyway, I was thinking of... first of all, omitting that whole rape thing entirely... but using Arthur Light as either a former mentor/colleague of Kimiyo's or possibly even making him her ex-husband. Yeah, it's nuts, especially the way the character's been depicted recently, but I'd have him pop up and claim that Kimiyo stole his work to become Dr. Light and try claiming the powers and identity for himself.

The second hero I'd draft is Vixen (Mari Jiwi McCabe). She has a mystical Tantu Totem (amulet) that allows her to mimic the abilities of animals, the speed of a cheetah, the strength of an elephant, the leaping of a gazelle, the claws of a panther... she can even fly like a bird! (That one's a recent development and I kinda don't like it, so I probably wouldn't use it.) Mari is a fashion model, so that opens up a whole world of glamor/entertainment/show biz. I'd depict her as attempting to turn herself into a brand, to go beyond modeling and write books, design fashion, maybe even television or acting. She's be like my own aspiring Tyra... that also fights crime!

I'd also accentuate that her name is Vixen and crank up her animal magnetism, similarly to the way she was depicted in Justice League Unlimited, upping her sexual voracity. On JLU she dated Green Lantern, but I'd never be able to get the rights to him, but I have a suggestion for a replacement.

I actually have a casting idea for her, Taraji P. Henson. Taraji is just soooo raaaaoooow! She's so ferocious and sexy and amazing, she'd be perfect!

Third in my lineup is Oracle (Barbara Gordon), who stars in Birds of Prey, a series about a group of female heroes! (Recently joined by one male.) So perfect, right? While Babs isn't the typical super heroine, she is certainly super! She's honestly one of the best written, best developed characters at DC! Notice I said "characters" and not "female characters." She's THAT good. Brilliant, quick-witted, tough, resilient, resourceful... she occupies a completely unique role in the DC Universe, a cyber super hero, using her hacking prowess to access any information available anywhere, to guide her field operatives on their death-defying missions. Also... she's disabled. The opportunity to depict such a strong, smart, all-around-incredible character AS a person with a disability is just such a great opportunity. Yeah, there are people with disabilities on TV and in movies, but Babs is a rare breed and it would be amazing to see her on TV.

Dina Meyer actually did a great job portraying her in the Birds of Prey series, but she might be too old now.

I think a couple other characters could pop up in recurring roles but not be part of the main cast. First, I'd do a mash-up of The Question (Renee Montoya). I say mash-up, because she'd be Montoya but with a healthy dose of the previous Question, Vic Sage, who was the inspiration for Rorschach in The Watchmen. So I'd play her as a crazy conspiracy nut who may or may not be onto something big, but that all of the other heroes are creeped out by. In the comics, she hit a low point, developing a nice healthy drinking problem and sleeping with an assortment of random chicks (oh she's a lesbian, by the way). That could inspire a storyline... albeit one that's already been depicted numerous times on various shows, so I'd have to think of some fresh approach to it.

Then there's The Huntress (Helena Bertinelli), who in the comics is a high school teacher/daughter of a mafioso, who adopts the identity of The Huntress and stalks criminals... and uses lethal force. This of course opens up a storyline that pits her against the other characters. In the comics, she's tempered her methods, so maybe if she proved popular enough, she could join the gang and evolve in that direction. I like the thought of her being the "dark horse" of the group, the "bad girl"/"outcast" type. She rightly or wrongly has kind of a "bad reputation" in another way in the comics, being one of the few heroes to actually be depicted as, ahem sexually active. Heck, that's story fodder.

I feel that there needs to be a fourth "regular" cast member, but I can't figure out who it would be. There's Power Girl, who is brilliant! She's tough, funny, brassy. She runs a technology company, so that could play into Oracle and her computer resources. She has great powers, super strength, flight, invulnerability. The team could use a tough, ass-kicker... not that they won't all kick ass in their own way, but she'd serve as the resident "tank," the one that just dives in and starts punching.

I LOVE Batwoman, she's so well-developed, unique, smart, driven... I don't know if she'd be available. She's a fringe Batman character at best, so she should be. Ditto Oracle, if anyone wanted to use her in a movie or anything, they'd make her Batgirl. Also, thus far, not much of a team player. Zatanna, the magician... gotta be honest, one of my least favorite JLA characters. NOT to say I dislike her, but I like her considerably less than... like nearly everyone else.
Hawkwoman... first of all, she'd be Hawkwoman not Hawkgirl. I'm not sure why they opted for Hawkgirl on Justice League. I'd depict her very closely to the way she was depicted on JL, tough, kick ass... in the comics she and Hawkman have enhanced strength and regenerative abilities, so that would put her in the same role as my Power Girl, the resident tank. She has a convoluted origin though and I doubt I'd want to depict her as being married to Hawkman, although that is a unique role. I'd probably make her single at first, give her a different romantic interest (like Vixen on JLU she dated Green Lantern) and introduce Carter Hall/Hawkman later.
I have a soft spot for Fire & Ice. Fire's a fiery Latina, both figuratively and literally. She's a former model/secret agent. Ice is her demure, modest counterpart. I like them both, but don't know if they're right for this. Fire would probably overlap too much with Vixen in terms of past/personality. It would be nice to have a "nice girl" like Ice, though.

Then there's Black Canary (Dinah Lance). She's really perfect, honestly... she's one of the best female heroes out there. She's capable, smart, well-rounded... everyone loves her! My hesitation to include her is simply that she, Oracle and Huntress form the Birds of Prey and I didn't come up with this to be a Birds of Prey adaptation. Like I said, the first two characters on my list are Dr. Light and Vixen, two non-Birds. Plus, like I said, Birds of Prey was already a TV show and it failed. But Dinah's such a great character. She runs a floral shop, she's had a long and tumultuous romance with Green Arrow, she's a legacy character, carrying on for her mother (who I'd probably make still be alive on the show... and I'd make their relationship a bit more antagonistic, making the original Black Canary kind of a stage mother-type... who cheated on Dinah's father with Starman, who may be Dinah's biological dad... SEE??? GOLD!!!), her mentor Ted "Wildcat" Grant would make an excellent supporting character... there are a million reasons TO use her, but that damn Birds of Prey thing just makes me not want to.
Like Smallville, I'd have a parade of guest-stars to pop up for story lines. Like I said, I'd like to use Dr. Arthur Light as a past-associate or even possible ex-husband for Dr. Light. He'd have to be completely reinvented, though to remove the skeeviness of the comic character. Casting someone handsome would help.
I'd also slightly reinterpret Firestorm, two men in one body who can fly and manipulate matter, changing one substance into another. Firestorm is composed of chemistry geek Jason Routh and dumb jock Ronnie Raymond. I'd age them. They're college students in the comics, so I'd make Jason a Chemistry or Physics PROFESSOR and I think he'd make a nice match for Dr. Light, whereas beefcake Ronnie would make a nice match for one of the other ladies, like Vixen, thus leading to a love-triangle square!

If Oracle is involved, I'd love to bring in Nightwing and YES he'd have to wear that costume! Ha ha! (Click here to visit the blog from which this image was taken.) But theirs is one of those great long-running, will-they-or-won't they romances. MANY people consider them their perfect super hero couple. In the comics, Batgirl was always older than Robin, so he always liked her but she just thought he was an annoying kid... which is cute. My thought would be that Oracle wold be in her later 20s, while Nightwing would be in his early 20s and I'd make him a Zac Efron type, like "DAMN, when did this KID get so hot?!" But Oracle would still think of him like an annoying kid brother. Well... maybe until she sees him in those blue briefs.

Another possibility is Blue Beetle (Ted Kord), another technology mogul who in the past had some dealings with Oracle. I think there was some implication that there might be a possible romance there but I don't think it ever really blossomed. I'd love to play Ted as the sad-sack super hero, kinda like Nite-Owl in Watchmen, who, surprise, Ted inspired, the same way The Question inspired Rorschach. Also, in the comics, he's the "comedian" hero and has a glory seeking best friend, Booster Gold. There's a lot of fodder there... hell, they could support their own show!Like Helena Bertinelli, Black Lightning (Jefferson Peirce) is a high school teacher, so there's some potential interaction there. Maybe they could investigate the mysterious disappearance of some high school students or some new super drug that's the latest big thing with students?
Of course if Black Canary is involved, Green Arrow has to follow. GA is widely known because of his high-profile role on Smallville. I'd play him scruffier and more of a rogue, playing up that whole Robin Hood-inspiration. I like the idea of him as a liberal politician and I'd keep that womanizer aspect that so often causes him problems, especially with Black Canary.

And if Hawkwoman is involved her destined love Hawkman would come into play at some point. I like when Hawkman comes across almost as a barbarian, a savage warrior who just pours it all out there. I do NOT like when he comes across as a crazy stalker. I DO like when he and Green Arrow fight. At any rate, there's a lot of potential there.

Uhhhhh... anyone still reading this? Ha ha! Yeah, I know it's a lot. A LOT. For something that has no hope of ever existing! But I guess I have a lot of quiet time to think about stupid stuff like this. I seriously would LOVE if this would happen. I think there's so much potential. Sorry if it's not that well developed... uh, it's not real. Sorry if a lot of what I DID develop was romantic stuff, but hell, that's what people like! It's not like that's really what the show would be about, but I think that's what HOOKS a viewer. The villain of the week is the big story, but the inter-personal development is what keeps people coming back. So yeah, anyone in Hollywood reading this?

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