Arrow Is Dudebrotastic So Here’s 5 Femme-y Shows DC Comics Could’ve Gone With
I’m always shocked at the way superhero projects tumble out. Iron Man turned out to be one of the most popular superheroes, salvaging a character that comics fans had written off as an ape. Blade got three movies and a TV spin-off. And yet, no Wonder Woman movie has ever come close to production, Superman’s never caught on, and as the tiresome meme goes, we’re getting an Ant-Man movie before a Black Panther one.
Then you hear the reasoning and things just get weirder. DC is trying to make a Hawkman movie because “it’s a superhero Indiana Jones” and a Barry Allen Flash movie because “it’s superhero CSI” (because what would kids like more than to see a superhero use all his power to analyze fingerprints!?). And even by that measure, you still see money being left on the table. Arrow got made literally because Green Arrow is the superhero least distinguishable from Batman. But there are a ton of other heroes who could work on a TV budget, within a TV format, and even involve ladies who do more than get stalked and lectured on their recreational drug use.
Women watch TV, right? They might like that. It’s a theory.
With that in mind, here’s five shows that some parallel universe bastards are enjoying right now.
1. Gotham Heights
Genre: Teen drama.
The Pitch: You know how all the most popular teen shows seem to involve either elaborate musical numbers or a group of close-knit female friends dealing with cute boys and paranormal occurrences? Well, how about this; Deathstroke: The Musical!
No, that’ll never work, the other thing.
Three of the most popular teenage girls in DC Comics are Stephanie “Batgirl” Brown, Cass “Batgirl” Cain, and Kara “Supergirl” Zor-El. They’re kind of superheroes in training, and in the good old days, Barbara Gordon (the first Batgirl until she was paralyzed by the Joker) took a maternal interest in them in her role as superhero hacker Oracle. So, you know… why not do that?
Steph, Cass, and Kara are all sent to a prep school in Gotham to learn the hero trade under the watchful eye of Barbara. Cass was trained from birth to fight, Kara has superpowers she’s working to master, and Steph tries very hard. But they soon discover that their school is haunted or whatever. Also, take your pick of hunky guys to show up. Tim Drake, Damian Wayne (aged up), Superboy, whatevs. That’s at least as good a premise as Smallville (“What if we make a Superman show where Superman doesn’t wear a costume and doesn’t fly? Also, he acts like a fucktard at all times.”).
Suggested casting: JeeJa Yanin as Cass. Both character and actress can kill people with their toes.
Genre: FX crime drama.
The Pitch: You know how there are all these awesome shows on cable about morally ambiguous dudes committing crimes, like Justified, Breaking Bad, The Sopranos, etc.? Here’s a thought. Let’s replace the dude with a badass chick in skintight leather. I think skintight leather might test well with the 18-35 male demographic. And who knows, women might appreciate that whole “independent woman who doesn’t give a fuck, beats up people, steals shit, looks good doing it”.
Catwoman actually has been in some pretty acclaimed comics where Batman never even showed up. Even besides the jewel thief business, she set up shop in a Gotham slum and defended it from criminals the police wouldn’t bother with, working with a grizzled private detective and a teenage runaway. Selina herself has been a mother, assassinated supervillains, gotten mind-wiped into goodness, and that’s not even getting into what Jim Balent made her do.
And then there’s her frenemy-ships with Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy, great characters in their own right, Selina’s multiple-choice past as orphaned child, former sex worker, and/or woman of color. I mean, I know she doesn’t have a penis, but there just might be enough there for a dark, psychologically dense series. I mean, c’mon FX, you guys show Anger Management, you have room for a woman who dresses as a cat.
Suggested casting: Eliza Dushku as Selina Kyle. Hey, there are only so many sassy female badass parts out there and Dushku needs to eat.
3. Power Girl
The Pitch: The problem with getting into the really high-tier heroes, like Superman and Iron Man, is that what makes them cool is the cool stuff they do, like punching dinosaurs or shooting rockets out of their fingers. Unfortunately, finger-rockets don’t come cheap, so you get shows like Smallville that promise full-fledged combat between the most powerful man on Earth and villains with insane powers–and then he just kinda picks them up and throws them. You know, over there.
But there’s no reason a show about an unstoppable superhero has to be an adventure series. The early and most popular Superman comics were almost sitcoms, where Superman had to deal with shit like Space Olympics and… Lois being really fat.
And lately, comedy shows have been pushing into magical realism territory. Scrubs, Don’t Trust The B In Apartment 23, 2 Broke Girls–they’re all about universes where we can see a medical intern’s imagination, Josh Van Der Berk compete with Dean Cain over dressing room size, or WW2 propaganda about the Japanese that turns out to be surprisingly accurate.
Before the Nu52 started its war on joy, Power Girl had a comic that embraced the jokeyness of a character who was breast known for her best size. The plots were about stuff like an alien Lothario who sets out to seduce Peej, a sheltered teen from the Earth’s core who goes shopping with Power Girl, and Power Girl having very large breasts.
So, instead of making Wonder Woman all jokey, why not take a character who’s comedic in the first place and adapt that? I hear Dan Harmon’s not doing anything. Just lock him in a vault with the Amanda Connor comics and tell him we won’t stop killing until he has comedy gold, the same way Are You There, Chelsea? was made.
Suggested casting: Brie Larson as Atlee, Power Girl’s loveable sidekick, and Diora Baird as PG herself. If you don’t know who Diora Baird is, you put her name into Google and the search engine itself says “Holy shit, are those real?”
Shut up, like Stephen Amell would really have all those abs after being stranded on an island for five years.
4. Gotham Central
Genre: Police procedural.
The Pitch: America loves four things: Gangnam Style, Batman, police procedurals, and overwrought darkness in their entertainment so as to appear adult even though they’re mostly still living with their parents. Gotham Central combined all those things, except Gangnam Style, and we can work on that. Since it’s a cop show, even the faux-Nolan grittiness makes sense.
And there’s already a great cast of characters to choose from. There’s Commissioner Gordon, of course. His daughter, Barbara, who eventually becomes a vigilante herself. Renee Montoya, our leading lady, a Hispanic lesbian who ends up in a relationship with Kate Kane, aka Batwoman. Harvey Dent, the future Two-Face, who also develops an obsession with Montoya. Harvey Bullock, Renee’s partner, a slovenly detective who bends the law as often as he upholds it. And, you know, Batman.
Plus, you have the actually compelling premise of duly appointed law officers relying on Batman and his crew to do their jobs. Some tension there. How much can the letter of the law be bent to uphold its spirit? And there’s the fact that Batman’s ‘clan’ is made up of child soldiers, headcases, and reformed supervillains. Oh, and while all this is going on, they’re hunting down deranged maniacs like the Scarecrow, Poison Ivy, the Joker, Mr. Freeze. And since this isn’t the comics, we can do the cops’ perspective on storylines like A Death In The Family, Knightfall, No Man’s Land, Batman R.I.P.–anything you like.
Honestly, I’m shocked this hasn’t been made yet. It’s like Dan Didio doesn’t like money.
Suggested casting: Alice Braga as Renee Montoya? A slumming Kurt Russell as Gordon? Ruth Wilson as Kate Kane? I’ll stop.
Genre: Legal drama
The Pitch: It’s a legal drama where the main character straps on confiscated supervillain gear and takes it upon herself to hunt down criminals who have escaped the law. She forces a paroled henchman to assist her and they banter. Also, she’s a single mother. And the cases tend to involve superheroes like Wonder Woman, Batman, and Superman.
Basically, take any boring legal drama from CBS, then cut out the boring parts and instead have a badass chick killing supervillains. It’s not rocket science.
Suggested casting: Let’s say Tabrett Bethell as Kate Spencer. She’s great, yet not in enough stuff. Be in more stuff, Tabrett Bethell.